We were on the 4/28 - 5/05 eastern Caribbean sailing of the Enchantment of the Seas. I know we have been back a week, but I have been too depressed to write a review. It was TERRIFIC, my husband and I were trying to figure out a way to ... Read More
We were on the 4/28 - 5/05 eastern Caribbean sailing of the Enchantment of the Seas. I know we have been back a week, but I have been too depressed to write a review. It was TERRIFIC, my husband and I were trying to figure out a way to stow away for another week. I won't go into great detail, and hopefully Cruise Critic members KPmama, pbhunt, and Annice, will write their own reviews. So, here we go.. Cruisecritic - like everyone else, I had put out a 'who's going' thread, and only received 3 reply's, KPMama, pbhunt, and annice. Kpmama, pbhunt and I have been having an email marathon since January, Annice joined us in April. I can't begin to tell you how wonderful these 3 couples are. Meeting them was by far the best part of the cruise. The Day Before My husband and I flew down to Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise. We stayed at the Marriott Marina bay, in a tower room. KPMama and her husband also stayed there, and we went out to dinner at Sea Watch, good food, and great company. We got up early Sunday morning - who could sleep - and watched the ships come in. There were 5 cruise ships in that morning. What a sight ... The Cruise We drove over to the pier with Kpmama, and were on the ship by 11:15, no lines, very easy. The Enchantment is beautiful, tons of glass; you can see the ocean from just about everywhere. We loved this ship, and I would go on her again in a heartbeat. Very clean. IMO in great shape - she is due to go in dry-dock this month. Our favorite hang out was the Schooner bar - it's pretty bad when all the bartenders and waiters - know you on a first name basis. LOL. Tell Junior Norma and Steve say Hi - he's the best. We were in cabin 8086 - a C aft balcony. The balcony's on the back of the ship are huge. I don't think I will ever get a balcony on the side again. There was no wind, and plenty of privacy. It was also a great spot to get to know your neighbors, beside you and one deck down. We were all out there every morning and evening, and when we left ports. There was plenty of storage in the cabin, we didn't use it all, and our suitcases fit easily under the bed. Our cabin steward was Clyde - he was excellent, we only saw him a few times, but he always seemed to know where we were, and had our ice bucket filled with fresh ice, and the room cleaned, or bed turned down for the night. If we needed something we left a note, and he took care of it. The Cruise Critc bunch went to KPMama's owner's suite - all I can say is WOW - for sailaway and we shared a chilled bottle of Tatingers, it was great. The cruise lines must have an issue with the condo's at the edge of the waterway leading to the ocean, because we were all asked to make as much noise as possible, which we did, and the ship blew her horn quite a few times. It was lots of fun. Food We had late seating, table 100, a table for 10. We had great tablemates, 4 other couples, all of us were basically in the same age group, so dinner was fun every night. Food is a very subjective subject, but we enjoyed all of it. If I don't have to buy it, cook it, serve it and clean up after, it's great. Formal nights were Monday and Friday. Our waiter was Raj, very good, with a dry sense of humor. Our headwaiter was Ande, new to the job, and he took is very seriously, when he relaxes a little, he will be excellent. We skipped the Friday formal night, and ate in the Windjammer - getting dressed up 2 nights was more than I could handle. The Windjammer at night is very nice, still a buffet, but they will get you something from the dining room, if the buffet does not appeal to you, it just takes a little longer. Table clothes, low lighting, waiters, a nice quiet meal. And we could eat when we wanted. We had room service for breakfast one morning, we asked for delivery between 7 and 7:30, they called about 7:05 to say it was on the way, and delivered it at 7:10, nice and hot. There was food everywhere on the boat, we ate most breakfasts and lunches in the Windjammer, plenty to choose from. We also had hot dogs and hamburgers and pizza at the solarium. They came around every night to the bars and the casino, with plates of small open-faced finger sandwiches, and deserts. There were 2 midnight buffets, we didn't eat at either one of them, but we did take pictures of the grand buffet. Shows The only show we went to was the farewell show. We were always too busy losing money in the casino ...Although we are now kicking ourselves for missing the Monday night show, KPMama stole it ...I'll let the ' star' tell you about it. We did see the 'not so newlywed game', funny .. And the quest - hysterical - don't miss it. Ports San Juan - We walked around old San Juan with Kpmama and pbhunt - easy walk from the ship. KPMama uses a mobility scooter - she really makes that thing go!!! We were stopped about every 10 feet by her fans from the show we missed. I wanted her autograph, for resale value LOL. KPMama left us and went back to the ship, we continued on, we went to - I don't know the formal name, but it's a pigeon park. Pbhunt went in to feed the pigeons; she bought 2 little bags of food. Her husband had to go and rescue her - she had pigeons on her head, on her shoulders, her arms, there were so many around her she couldn't move. It was sooooo funny. We stopped down the street at a small bar with outside tables - Ambrosia. Then the rains came ... we moved inside to wait it out, it didn't stop. Word to the wise - taxi's will not come and pick you up on old san Juan - so we had to run in the rain for a few blocks to get a cab. St. Maarten Took the water taxi to downtown - $5 round trip - they put a band on your wrist, so you can use the water taxi as often as you want - good deal. We shopped in St. Maarten, and shopped, and shopped. Great prices in Jewelry. We had great luck at Joe's jewelry. They get you drinks while you are making your purchase. Very nice. We met Pbhunt at Every' ting Cool - a really fun bar on the beach. Had lunch and a few drinks, try the #10 its got the guava berry liqueur in it. Good food, great drinks. From there we walked down the beach to the water taxi and back to the ship. St. ThomasWe loved St. Thomas, it is so beautiful, I would love to go back. We rented a jeep with Pbhunt and her husband, and drove around the island. Went to Magens Bay, Sapphire Beach, grabbed a bite to eat and a drink at Duffy's love shack - great bar - do you notice a theme going on here? -- then drove up to Paradise point, the road is so steep, we thought we were going to have to get out and push the jeep. My husband had a comment as he was driving up, but I can't repeat it ... was worth it though, what a view - try the bushwhacker - there is that theme again. We had our picture taken with the birds at paradise point, it was pretty funny ...We drove back down, dropped off the jeep at budget, which was right at the bottom of the road to Paradise point, did a little bit of shopping and back to the ship. We loved renting a jeep; my husband had no problems driving on the left. There seemed to be a fantastic view around every corner. Loved St. Thomas. Nassau Went over to check out Atlantis, very expensive, that's about all for Nassau, As far as I'm concerned, they could take it off as a port. I don't really care for Nassau, at all. Home Getting off the ship was easy, we had an 11:10 flight, and were at the airport by 8:45, no problem getting a cab. Final Thoughts The crew on the Enchantment was very friendly, every crewmember we met asked us about our day, and our cruise, and hoped we were enjoying ourselves. Every one!!! Captain Per, was very approachable, and funny. The cruise director, Marc Walker was great. I'm running out of adjectives. I have only one complaint - immigration at St. Thomas - As soon as you go through immigration and get a check mark on the back of your blue super charge, you can get off the boat. This is something they don't announce, and they should. We lost about an hour on St. Thomas because of this. Cigarettes - if you smoke, buy them on St. Maarten, $9.95 a carton. My husband bought 4. Customs - you are only allowed 1 carton of smokes per person, so my husband went down to customs (they are on the ship the morning of departure) to pay duty. The duty on a carton of smokes is $3.00, still makes a carton very cheap. But, because he was only over by 2 cartons, the duty would have been only $6.00, and according to the customs agent he saw, they will not charge you for any duty under $10.00. He cleared us on the boat, so when we hit customs getting off the boat we were waived right through. Alcohol - didn't bring any on board, can't be bothered. We thought the drink prices on the boat were very reasonable - especially if you do the drink of the day. This was supposed to be short - I lied ... Immigration - if you have a passport - you still need your license - we saw quite a few people sent back to their rooms to get it. And they were quite unfriendly, and they carry weapons. So be nice LOL Security - we thought it was good, they take your picture as you board, and then when you get back on the boat from a port, they match the super charge to your photo. Pepgin May 2002 Read Less
We were on the same cruise with pepgin, (Norma & Steve), KPMama (Kathie & Jay) and Annice & Jon. We had a fantastic, wonderful time! Enchantment of the Seas, is by far, the most beautiful ship we have sailed on! We spent a ... Read More
We were on the same cruise with pepgin, (Norma & Steve), KPMama (Kathie & Jay) and Annice & Jon. We had a fantastic, wonderful time! Enchantment of the Seas, is by far, the most beautiful ship we have sailed on! We spent a couple of days at Walt Disney World before we drove down to Ft. Lauderdale to board the ship on Sunday 04/28. We lost a lot of time trying to find a gas station near the airport to fill up the rental car and didn't board until almost 3PM. There were, of course, no lines for embarkation that late in the day. San Juan We walked around Old Town and found the pigeon park that pepgin mentioned. It's lots of fun.... sort of like a scene from "The Birds" . Once they see you buying the food, every pigeon in the park are now your newest friends. We stopped at Ambrosia for a drink. It started to sprinkle, then rain, then pour! We were soaked by the time we reached the taxi stand and back on the ship by about 5PM. We docked at about 2:30 so at least we had some time on shore before the weather intervened. St. Maarten Great shopping here, cigarettes are very, very cheap. Met up with Norma & Steve at Everyt'ing Cool. A great bar! Good food and drinks, live music, temporary tattoos, beach chair rental and their own beach. Found out that the lockers at Everyt'ing Cool are taken by the Shore Excursion guests. St. Thomas Our Favorite Port. Back seat passengers in the jeep that Norma & Steve rented. Steve had no problems with the left side driving. We visited Megan's Bay, Sapphire Beach, (they have iguanas there!). We spent some time at Duffy's Love Shack at the Red Hook Plaza for lunch and drinks. Our Favorite Bar, thanks Tyler! Then we drove up the road to Paradise Point, (where the trams go at $15 per person). It's a wild, steep road, with switchbacks, great fun. Our driver (Steve) exclaimed it to be a "Yeaa n Haaa!" ride. Excellent drinks, tropical birds, and gorgeous views from the top. Their signature drink (according to them) is the Bushwacker. Very good, like a tropical milkshake. Nassau We took a way overcrowded water taxi over to Atlantis. $6 roundtrip for the water taxi, $8 roundtrip for a land cab. If we were going to do it again, I think we would take a land taxi, they drop you off right at the front of the resort. It's quite a hike from the boat dock up to the resort. Atlantis is a beautiful resort. We walked through and played a little in the casino and you can see many of the aquarium fish, including the hammerhead shark and giant stingrays, from the walkways above. They have 25-cent slots in the casino, but they go up as high as $100 a pull. The resort is very elegant, and they have great drinks at the bar! If it appears that we did the "bar tour" you're right! We didn't plan it that way but we've done the snorkeling and island tours before on other cruises and this way we got to see some of the local "wildlife". AlcoholWe brought a six pack on board at both San Juan and Nassau. Bagged, but not hidden, there were no problems with security. We did see people that had purchased the (cardboard) multi-packs of bottled liquor being asked to check it when they boarded. We purchased one Royal Cocktail card for the 2 of us, but I don't think we really needed it. If we had purchased Bloody Mary specials in the morning, Margarita Madness in the Schooner Bar from 5:30-8:30 in the evening, Drink of the Day, 2 for 1 coupons, and so on, you can drink at a very reasonable cost. Beer was a dollar off in the casino, any time it was open. Activities We didn't really see any of the production shows, other than the Farewell Show. We watched some of them on television. Unfortunately, we missed KPMama in her starring role at one of the shows, everyone talked about it for the rest of the week! We saw the Newlywed game, the Quest, "Feel" Like a Millionaire, and most of the audience shows. . All 3 couples went in on purchasing a horse for horse racing, It was lots of fun, even though she didn't win, she was quite a conversation piece. KPMama did a fantastic job of decorating "Diva", having watched the racing on many other cruises, I was disappointed that there was not a prize for "best decorated" or consolation keychains for horse owners! There were so many activities on board that we couldn't possibly get to all of them! It was a wonderful cruise, made even more special by meeting our Cruise Critic shipmates onboard. We can't wait to take another one!pbhuntMay 2002 Read Less
Having just returned from our 33rd cruise (13th with Royal Caribbean), I feel compelled to write this review for 2 reasons: (1). To clarify some of the issues and concerns that have been posted on the boards, and (2). To give you a ... Read More
Having just returned from our 33rd cruise (13th with Royal Caribbean), I feel compelled to write this review for 2 reasons: (1). To clarify some of the issues and concerns that have been posted on the boards, and (2). To give you a general overview of the ship and services we experienced on our Christmas cruise. First of all, we were a group of 30-family and friends that have made cruising during the holidays an annual event. Our group consisted of ages ranging from 3-65, and from seasoned cruisers to first timers. As my parents live in Tampa, we had flown to their house a few days prior to the cruise and then drove to Miami the day prior in 2 rented 15 passenger vans. We had purchased the pre cruise hotel stay through RCI and were provided accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Miami. The hotel was very clean, and most convenient to the Port of Miami. Check in was a breeze, and the staff was most accommodating in meeting our requests for rooms on the upper floors facing the cruise terminal so we could watch the ships arrive early Sunday morning. I would highly recommend if at all possible that you arrange a pre cruise stay to avoid the stress of possible flight delays and the possibility of missing the ship on cruise day. Upon check in we were given our room keys and a letter explaining the RCI check in procedures that would take place in the hotel lobby the following morning. After a good dinner and a restful nights sleep, we woke to find RCI representatives in the hotel lobby ready to check us in for our cruise. As the Voyager was also departing on Sunday, I imagined a sea of people and total chaos during check in at the hotel-NOT SO. RCI had plenty of personnel on hand to ensure you were in the right line, and check in was very fast and efficient. One nice thing that has changed since our last cruise with RCI, is that they now activate your onboard Supercharge account at the hotel, eliminating the need to stand in line once onboard. Another nice change was that your Supercharge card is now also your cabin key. RCI had busses waiting to take people to the pier at 12:30pm, but as we didn't care to begin our cruise waiting in lines, we opted for the short taxi ride. We arrived at the pier at 11:30am, all pre-checked in and ready to board, only to find that the ship was delayed in clearing US Customs. The pier-side check in we observed while waiting to board seemed to run smoothly and efficiently with plenty of RCI personnel on hand to assist. Boarding began promptly at 12noon. In Miami you board the ship directly into the Centrum at Deck 4, where RCI personnel were on hand to direct you to your cabin or offer assistance. It was fun to watch the faces of our first time cruisers as they boarded this beautiful ship. As we knew where our cabin was, we headed up to Deck 7 to settle in to our new home away from home. We had cabin 7056 (Cat. D outside with balcony). The cabin was very well laid out with queen size bed, full size convertible sofa, coffee table, vanity/desk, safe, TV, refrigerator, and more than enough drawer and closet space. The balcony had 2 chairs and a small table and was large enough to easily accommodate 4 people. The bathroom was the typical small ship bathroom but was well laid out and again there was plenty of storage space. The cabins were extremely quiet with virtually no noise to be heard from the adjacent cabins or hallways which made for a great nights sleep. The only thing we did not care for was you needed a major credit card to open and lock the safe (there is no charge to do so), but on the other Vision class ships we've sailed the safe was opened by a 4 digit combination, eliminating the need to have to carry a credit card with you for the entire cruise. One word of warning- We chose to "hide" our credit card in the back of the information book on the desk only to find on the last night of the cruise that the book had been taken from the cabin to be restocked for the next cruise. Fortunately, our cabin attendant was able to locate our book and credit card with little trouble. The ship is very similar in design and decor to the other Vision class ships. The color scheme on Enchantment consists of more pastel colors (sea foam greens, corals etc.), but the standard RCI blues and tans were abundant as well. Original artwork could be found throughout the ship in the public areas and stairwells. The Centrum was crowned by a hanging plexiglass sculpture which splashed prisms of rainbows in the daily sun. The solarium had an Indian motif. I have to admit after reading several posts to the boards, stating that the ship was not well kept, had severe vibration and food and service was lacking, I was more than hesitant about sailing on her, and at one point I almost changed our reservations.. Boy am I glad I didn't!! The Enchantment is beautiful, and shows no signs of wear. The maintenance crew was constantly polishing, cleaning and painting to keep up her pristine appearance. We experienced no more vibration than we had on any other ship. When maneuvering into port, there was more of a vibration while the bow thrusters brought us to dock, but nothing out of the ordinary. The ship was very stable and handled well in moderate seas at full power. The service and food was also top notch. The food ranged from good to excellent, with the exception of the lobster, which all 30 of us sent back as it had a "bad" taste. Most days we ate breakfast on our balcony or in the Windjammer Cafe. The Windjammer offered the standard fare of eggs, pancakes, potatoes, meats, pastries and made to order omelets. The food was hot and good, and room service was fast and accurate with hot food arriving hot and cold food arriving cold. We ate a few lunches in the dining room which were all very good with a nice varied menu. Most other lunches were taken in the Windjammer, which also had a nice selection of hot and cold choices. The buffet was varied and offered something different each day. I would say the choices and quality of food was much better than the standard cafeteria style buffet. The Windjammer snack service was also very well done with a large selection of cold cuts, sandwiches, salads, and the best smoked salmon (one of my personal favorites). Here you could also find soft serve ice cream, cookies and a variety of cakes and pasties as well as custards and warm bread puddings. The Solarium Cafe also offered hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers and some of the best french fries to be had. The pizza onboard RCI has improved slightly, but left a lot to be desired. The hamburgers were juicy and hot. We ate all but 2 dinners in the My Fair Lady dining room. One night we opted for the casual Windjammer at night service, which offers the same menu as the main dining room. You serve yourself, soups, appetizer, salad and dessert from a buffet and the main course is served to you by waiters. (This service is totally free). The other night we opted for room service, ordering off the dining room menu and again had no complaints on the service or quality of food. The dinners in the beautiful My Fair Lady dining room ranged from good to excellent. Each night there was a choice of 3 appetizers, 3 soups, 2 salads, 4 entrees (meat, poultry, fish, and a Spa selection), as well as the standard nightly choices from the grill (NY strip steak, salmon or chicken). Food quality and presentation were very nice, and except for the lobster previously mentioned, we didn't have a bad meal all week. Desserts were very good and a much improvement over our cruise on Vision last year. Service from Alex our waiter and Jeffrey our assistant waiter was also excellent! Our assistant waiter was by far the most attentive assistant waiter we've ever had on any cruise-not once the entire week did we have to ask for a thing. Our preferred drinks were waiting on the table when we arrived, and water glasses would be filled before they reach the half empty point. These 2 professionals worked very well together, and when joined by Head Waiter Jean-Phillipe, provided impeccable service. To our surprise our Head waiter had remembered us from our 1996 cruise on Grandeur and accommodated all special requests with a smile. The service throughout the rest of the ship was also top notch! Our cabin steward Ricardo kept the cabin very neat and clean and was also most accommodating with any special requests. We rarely saw him all week except when we would pass in the hallways. I think he had us on "stake out" and the minute we left the cabin he did his "magic" and left without a trace. Other service personnel were very friendly and professional. The bartenders not only provided excellent service, but by the end of the cruise had become very good friends. Owen, James, Luke and Miguel in the Schooner bar not only made great drinks but were also a lot of fun. Michael in the Viking Crown Lounge is a character in is own right, and Catalin and Glenroy at the pool bar know how to take care of their guests. The staff at the Purser's office were friendly and very professional which is amazing considering the ship was over sold by 200 passengers. (A lot of cabins had roll-away beds brought in to accommodate the extra guests). The only areas where we encountered somewhat poor service was in the casino and gift shops. Cruise Director Ken Rush, and his staff were wonderful, and there were more than enough activities planned to keep you busy if you so desired. One of the best activities was the Toga Party held on deck-this party rivaled any on Carnival Cruise Lines. The Rock and Roll Band provided high energy and everyone who partook seemed to enjoy themselves. The entertainment onboard was fantastic and varied. Each night you could dance to a very talented trio or the reggae band in the Centrum, sing along at the Schooner piano bar with Papa John, dance to a wonderful, high energy Latin Salsa Band in the Fascinating Rhythms Lounge. There was also a great top 40's band in the Carousel Lounge, and the Viking Crown Disco went full blast until way past 4am nightly. The poolside reggae band Blue Orchid played each afternoon and evening and were also very good. We only saw a few of the nightly shows in the Orpheum Theater. Ben Vereen was tired and could not hold a tune nor could he keep in time with the band-needless to say we walked out (as did most others). The 2 comedians they had were funny and talented and were 2 of the best shows of the week. The magicians were more interested in dancing around with their shirts off than they were in doing actual magic-again we walked out. I did not see any of the Wave Review Production shows, but those in our group who went said they were very well done by a talented cast. I will not go into any detail on any of the ports visited (Key West, Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman) as we've been to these islands several times and really didn't do anything special. If you have any specific questions regarding any of these ports or on the ship, please feel free to email and I will do my best to answer your questions. Overall, I would not hesitate to book on Enchantment again, and would highly recommend this ship. This was as perfect a cruise as once could have-it's no wonder Enchantment is ranked number one ship in the RCI fleet for both food and service and she has held that title for the past 6 consecutive months. (As told to us by the Captain during his welcome aboard reception). We are currently onboard the Voyager for the Millennium cruise and I will post a review of this weeks cruise when we return. Read Less
October, 13, 2002 - Fort Lauderdale to San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas and Nassau The opinions expressed in the following review are mine and are only opinions. My cruise adventure planning started close to a year before the sail ... Read More
October, 13, 2002 - Fort Lauderdale to San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas and Nassau The opinions expressed in the following review are mine and are only opinions. My cruise adventure planning started close to a year before the sail date when a group of women from the Cruise Critic Fashion Board thought it would be fun to cruise together. What followed was the Enchanted Tiara cruise aboard the Enchantment of the Seas with 16 wonderful and whacky women. Cruise Critic chose me as group leader for this group, and it was the first official Cruise Critic group to be handled by cruise.com. I put in a lot of personal time on planning this cruise and when it was all done, it was well worth it to be with this wonderful group of ladies. Most of us planned to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale the day or night before the cruise to meet, get to know each other and start the partying. I flew in from Georgia with one of my three roommates. We shared a room at the AmeirSuites in Ft. Lauderdale. It was there that we met up with my two other ship roommates and some of the other women in our group. Five of us had dinner at the Outback Steakhouse within walking distance of the AmeriSuites Hotel. Then we went back to the hotel where paperwork needed to be filled out by my cruise roomies because all documents for our cabin were sent to me. We sat in one of the rooms, sipping champagne, getting to know each other, and filling out paperwork, and while others in our group joined us as the evening progressed. When Linda, my roomie in both Ft. Lauderdale and on the ship and I got back to our suite, we stayed up until 2 a.m. talking - it was a precursor of things to come for the week! The next morning, while some people went to breakfast, I chose to catch a few more minutes of sleep. My three roommates and I had decided to meet in the lobby at 11 to go to the ship. Instead of waiting for the shuttle, which was doing double or triple duty among the airport, the pier and other hotels, the four of us were going to take two taxis when we were offered a van for $3 apiece. Six of us (all from our group) jumped at the chance. We arrived at the pier around 11:30 or so. Because four of us were in a Royal Family Suite, we were directed to a separate area from the general population where a representative from RCI told us which pieces of paperwork we needed to have out, she checked our passports and wished us a bon voyage. We were then sent to a special line, where there was only one couple in front of the four of us. Because we had all filled out our embarkation forms online, check-in was quick and painless. We presented the printouts we had made of those forms, were told to sign them, were asked for our credit cards for our onboard accounts and were given our Sign and Sail cards. We then proceeded to the X-ray and onto the ship. The entire process took less than 20 minutes and we were headed to our Royal Family Suite by noon. For those who are interested, I decided to check the system and had a bottle of wine in my backpack as well as two bottles in my packed suitcase. I thought I was busted when the bottle of wine went thud on the X-ray belt, but it was not a problem. The backpack went through without a second look. The Royal Family Suite At first I was a bit disappointed with the suite because it was much smaller than I had expected. This suite was 8018, toward the front of the ship. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms and is fine for four adults, as long as two of the adults do not mind being in what amounts to an inside cabin to sleep. After walking around for a few minutes looking for the door to the second bedroom, we finally found it. The second bedroom does have a ceiling to floor window that you can cover with a curtain, so you can get the impression that the room is larger if you want. This room also has two beds that pull down from the ceiling. It looked small enough to me with the two beds that were needed. I can't imagine what it would be like with the other two pulled down. There is a large walk-in closet to compensate for the small bedroom and the second bathroom is small but adequate. The main bedroom is much larger with a TV and sliding glass doors leading to both the balcony, which seats four but no more, and to the living room, which was in constant use. The living room was a very nice size and has a refrigerator and one safe for the four of us. Drawer and closet space for the four of us was not a problem. Do not expect to be treated like you are really in a suite if you book this cabin. While it is called a Royal Family Suite, the extras that come with the Owner's Suites are not available to those in the Family Suites. Our suite was treated like any other room. The cabin attendant was unremarkable. He did not show up until 3 p.m. when we were trying to get out to meet our entire group, and after the first day, when he asked if we wanted anything extra, like towels, he did not pay much attention to our requests. We had to order clean wine glasses from room service because our glasses, which we had to request, were just put back neatly next to the TV in the living room. The Ship The Enchantment is a beautiful ship. This was my fifth sailing on a Royal Caribbean ship, third on a Vision Class ship, and I would have to say that this ship is the prettiest of the three. The artwork is worth taking time to look at. There are some very interesting and beautiful pieces all over the ship. I found the ship easy to navigate around. My favorite spot was the Champagne Bar, which became the official meeting place whenever anyone wanted to meet up. People knew I'd be there before and after dinner, and I missed some shows and Karaoke because my quick after-dinner drink always turned into long stays because people kept stopping by to chat, which was great!!! Jimmy and Maria, the bartenders at the Champagne Bar treated us like royalty, calling us by name and always knowing what our preferences were before and after dinner. I was most impressed with these two people. The Dining Room After some initial confusion about our table seating, we were seated at two different tables. Unfortunately, they were not next to each other, but they were close to each other. Our waiter, Stan, was very nice, and quickly learned our names. Our assistant waiter, Gedde, was excellent, always bringing my Pellegrino and refilling it as needed. The Windjammer and Solarium I have never been a great fan of buffets, however, the buffet in the Windjammer was much better than on previous cruises. I particularly liked the sandwiches they were making. However, I preferred to lunch in the Solarium where it was much less crowded and more quiet. The hamburgers were pretty good, but I really enjoyed the pizza. Room Service When I sail with my husband, we order room service for breakfast. I tried one time, but it wasn't very good. I did not care for my omelet and the hot water wasn't hot enough to make coffee in my French Press. Oh well. I did like room service the first sea day when a friend in an Owner's Suite offered the use of her Jacuzzi. I ordered a bottle of wine (no I did not drink the entire thing) and some pizza because I had not been to lunch yet. Sitting in the Jacuzzi and sipping wine was the perfect way to relax. We also ordered room service to bring some cheese plates to a small impromptu cocktail party in another room. We had to order eight plates of cheese and crackers because we didn't want to spend extra money for a cheese plate. It was kind of funny, actually. Activities on Board I sat in on one of the art auctions for a few minutes. I usually enjoy them, but this time I did not care for the auctioneer. I did not see any of the activities up near the pool, so cannot comment on those. Entertainment Unfortunately, I missed most of the entertainment. A couple of shows were before dinner, and I had other plans. I did see one show with Jodi Butler. She was very good. I also tried to watch one of the production shows, but had to walk out. I did not care for the choreography and I did not think the dancers or singers were very good. Some people thought this first production show, called Sweet Dreams, was very good. I say, different strokes for different folks. Sightseeing As I mentioned, our ports were San Juan, St. Maartin, St. Thomas and Nassau. While I had been to all these ports before, I was eager to go back and see things I had not yet seen. In San Juan, my three roomies and I did our own little walking tour of the Old City. We were greeted with a little rain, but it quickly passed. As we got off the ship, a group of young people was performing to Latin music, which we watched while we waited out the rain. Then we started. Our first stop was Butterfly People, a place I'd been to twice, but was new to my roomies. Then we went to the El Convento Hotel, an old convent, where we stopped for an island beer and to relax and talk. On the way back we stopped in some of the shops along Calle Fortaleza and I bought some of the best hot sauces in one of the shops that I have ever had on one of the side streets before we hit Fortaleza. Our next stop was St. Maartin. This was my first time there in 13 years and my how it has changed. I took the island tour offered by the ship, which took us to both the French and Dutch sides. I was quite surprised at how the island has changed from both tourism and hurricanes. If you're a shopper, St. Martin is the place to go. On the French side, there is a large outdoor shopping area. It was quite warm, so a friend and I went across the street to the enclosed upscale air-conditioned mall and had a drink. I would recommend shopping on the Dutch side, but as with all things, know what you're looking at. I looked at a specific digital camera I've been eyeing here for more than a year. At first I thought the price was fair, but then realized it was for a version that has been discontinued. Not good. In fact, I personally did not see any deals on electronics, but I'm sure there are some. In St. Thomas, I decided to take the ship's excursion to St. John since I'd never been there before. A few of us from my group were on the excursion, but only two of us got soaked on the way over. We were sitting on the main level in what I thought was going to be shade. Well, the water was a bit rough and we suddenly were hit by a few waves. I kept laughing because my friend kept getting facefulls of water. It was nice to be soaked, though, because it was hot on the island. I loved St. John and I recommend this tour. After the tour was over and we were back in St. Thomas, I changed clothes, showered, met my friend for lunch and then she and I decided to do some shopping at Havensight Mall. It was my first time there. Each of the other eight or so times I've been to St. Thomas, I've gone into town. This was a nice change of pace and it was right at the ship, which made it very convenient. In Nassau, we were the fourth ship to dock, but one of the Celebrity ships left soon after we docked. It was hot and crowded in town. Another friend and I went walking around and decided, after taking a look, not to tackle the straw market. I had been looking for a specific watch, and I found it in Nassau of all places. Funniest Moments For me, there were two. One was being on the water park ride to St. John Island. I don't know why, but it was hilarious to me. The other was the first night on the ship. I have an ulcer and must eat some applesauce before I go to bed at night. I brought my own to keep in the refrigerator, but did not bring a spoon because I figured I would get one in the Windjammer. Well, when I finally remembered I needed one, the Windjammer was closed for cleaning and the Solarium did not have spoons. I finally called room service and ordered Pellegrino water and a teaspoon. The person on the other end of the phone did not quite understand me. I told her I needed a spoon, like you use to eat ice cream, and she informed me that room service did not have ice cream. I told her I needed a spoon -- like fork, knife, spoon -- and I wasn't sure what I would get. Sure enough, I got my water and a spoon! Group Cruises This was the first time I had organized a group cruise and while it did not all go smoothly at the beginning, it ended up just great. We had a wonderful group of women who had met on Cruise Critic's cruise boards and who all got along well. I also had contact with people outside the group and got to meet most of them. Plus, with the Cruise Critic/Royal Caribbean party, I was able to meet others I probably would not have met. Cruising in a group is very different from cruising with your spouse, at least it is for me. I felt like I was always doing something, but I did take time for myself. For our group, I wanted people to feel free to do what they wanted to do and not feel obligated to be anywhere at any time. I think this worked well for all of us. Because of this group and these boards, I met some of the most wonderful people I could hope to meet, and made new lifelong friends. This and That I do recommend that you fill out your embarkation forms online. It made check-in quick and easy. I do recommend you go to the Cruise Critic/RCI party and get to know your fellow passengers. It's really nice to be strolling through town or around the ship and hear someone calling your name! I do recommend a balcony cabin if you can afford it. I do recommend you make full use of the Cruise Critic Message Boards not only to meet up with other people, but also to help you decide what you want to do on your next cruise! I do also recommend you plan on arriving at your cruise destination a day, or night, early to reduce stress and hopefully meet some of your cruising mates. Royal Caribbean is now employing drug-sniffing dogs and their handlers on different voyages, and as far as I know, there is no way to find out ahead of time what ship one of these canines will be on. I first noticed the dog on our ship when we reboarded after an afternoon in San Juan. I saw the dog again in St. Maartin. It was amazing to watch the dog and handler working together. Because if this, I recommend that you NOT try to smuggle anything illegal onboard. As far as the liquor policy is concerned, I already mentioned that I had no trouble bringing on one bottle of wine in my carry-on luggage, but I would not recommend you try to smuggle a lot of booze on board. When we were in San Juan, we were able to buy and bring back to our room four bottles of wine and four bottles of water from the duty-free shop. In St. Maartin, I was able to get two bottles of vodka in my backpack up to the cabin, but one of my roommates was unable to get six bottles of booze past the person who needed to check it in. I honestly had put the bottles I had in my backpack to make it easier for me and just didn't tell the guy I had any booze. It was one of those things that if they didn't see it, they didn't know, I guess. This was one of the most wonderful cruises I've ever been on and it's all because of the people with whom I sailed!!!!ldrscruisemir7@aol.comNovember 2002 Read Less
Overview This was the third cruise for my wife and I, having sailed on The Crown Princess (Feb. 1999) and the Regal Princess (Feb. 2000) Both were 10 day cruises to the Mexican Riviera. These are sister ships with space ratios of 44 ... Read More
Overview This was the third cruise for my wife and I, having sailed on The Crown Princess (Feb. 1999) and the Regal Princess (Feb. 2000) Both were 10 day cruises to the Mexican Riviera. These are sister ships with space ratios of 44 to 1. We enjoyed most aspects of what Princess had to offer, but realized that a good comparison could only be accomplished with experience aboard other lines. A Florida travel agent gave us a good offer for a balcony suite aboard The Enchantment - an offer too good to pass up so we jumped at it. Both The Regal and Crown have standard in/out room size of 190 sq. feet. We had tried the inside and outside/window but had never booked with a veranda. Our Enchantment suite would be on Deck 8, Bridge Deck, with a size of 245 sq. feet. What's more, the price per day would be similar to an outside window cabin aboard Princess ... but would the service and facilities be as good? Only one way to find out ... take the plunge and try RCI. Getting There My wife and I are both letter carriers from Portland, Oregon. We had to work 2/17, (the day before departure). No way out of it. We would have liked to depart a few days early, stayed in Ft. Lauderdale ... get over any jet lag, and be ready for the cruise. Our only option was to try and make the best of it. We managed to get off early, get home and do all the last minute packing. The flight was red eye on Delta Airlines from Portland to Atlanta on a Boeing 767. Then Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale on an L 1011. All went well ... no delays and we managed to doze throughout the flights. Embarkation We did not book our flight through RCI and had to take a taxi to the port facilities ... no big deal, it's about five minutes from the airport, but the taxi driver was concerned that it was too early and that the port authorities would not allow entrance during the disembarkation from the previous cruise. No problem -- the guards waived us through to the front of the terminal. By then it was 9:00 am. We entered the building on the South side and sat with about twenty other people in an undersized waiting area. Note: RCI representatives were not present in the front of the terminal. My wife went out front to have a cigarette ... she ended up directing new arrivals to the waiting area. They were lost and disoriented. The waiting area is at the South end of the terminal building. We waited from 9:00 am until 11:45 am. The barrier was opened and we proceeded to a short line of waiting passengers. RCI has a number system of some sort ... you take your number and go to the respective line -- this was not used on our early embarkation. The process was quick and smooth. The attendant helping us seemed too secretarial and unfriendly. It might have had something to do with my dropping our paperwork onto her keyboard and making a mess of things. My apology and explanation of a red eye flight and lack of sleep did not bring a smile to her face ... oh well, not on board yet. Done and off to the picture line. RCI does not use picture ID [on the Enchantment] as does Princess. These were the standard photos which they try to sell during the cruise. RCI uses a credit card, (called supercharge). This will purchase anything aboard ship, acts as your key to the stateroom and will open your personal room safe. Finally, up an enclosed, inclined walkway similar to what you'd find at an airport terminal. It was steep enough to be a problem to the older passengers. To the top ... and then ... aboard the ship -- king's X! We had made it and were aboard The Enchantment of the Seas! One enters mid ship at The Atrium - similar to The Crown and Regal but more modernistic, bright and colorful. We had the entire ship to ourselves for a number of hours. Did our customary exploring. Nice to finally be on a ship with a complete promenade deck. Quarters I did my homework and had studied the deck plans on the internet. We declined an escort to our room and took a mid ship elevator to deck 8, Bridge Deck. Note: Enchantment has elevators and stairwells mid ship and forward ... none to aft. At muster station drill I had a group of people follow me aft, thinking that I knew what I was doing. They followed me around to the other side of our deck and forward to the lifts mid ship. Herd mentality, I suppose. The suite was everything we had envisioned... 245 sq. feet with a fold out couch and two matching chairs, ample storage space and a Veranda large enough for two chairs, a table and one deck chair. The retainer was of green tinted glass. The bathroom was adequate with a bathtub. Note: [The Enchantment] does not furnish a hair dryer. Don't forget to bring one along. Our suite was aft and to starboard. Note: when taking the Eastern Caribbean cruise to St. Martin and St. Thomas, it is best to book on the port side -- much better view of your destinations. We met our steward and I tipped him -- yes, I tipped him at the beginning of the cruise. This was a new technique I learned from my friends Tom and Mary Milano. The staff aboard ship enjoys attention and recognition. I tipped him $50 in an envelope with a note stating that this was a down payment on what I knew would be exceptional service. I also asked him if, at the end of the cruise, we might be allowed to stay in our suite until our color code was announced. He said no problem, and while other passengers had to wait in public areas, we sat in our cabin and watched TV. On the last night of the cruise I tipped him another $20. Cuisine My Fair Lady - Formal Dining, Decks 4 and 5 aft - The service was excellent. The food was, well, okay ... and just okay. It was well prepared and served warm but lacked anything which one could call 'special.' With Princess we had a much greater selection with appetizers, soups, salads, pasta dishes, (every night), and desserts. With RCI we had appetizers, one salad with no selection, the main entree and dessert ... that's it! The area is spacious with a main floor and surrounding balcony. As with our cabin steward, I tipped our waiter $50 on the first night with a similar note. I asked him to suggest entrees if my selections were for items that he knew to be sub standard. He said no problem. The next night I tipped the asst. waiter $30 with a similar note. The last night of dining I again tipped the waiter and his assistant -- $20 and $10, respectively. The headwaiter received $10, (for what I don't know). He would come around and chat with a gracious smile ... he separated our crustaceans from their shells on several occasions ... no flambe on this cruise. We booked second sitting, thinking that this would give us ample time to prepare for dinner after shore excursions. Problem is, on days in port, the second sitting has an early entertainment show, starting at 7:00 PM, instead of 10:30 PM. It makes for a rush to refresh and dress with little time to observe the departure from a port. My wife, Pat, suffered seasickness on days one and two. She was unable to attend dinner. The seas were 15 feet with gale force side winds of 40 mph. The sky was overcast and with the howling wind, it was almost comical to watch the sun worshipers in their deck chairs, grasping their clothes and towels as they flapped wildly in the air. The UV rays went through the overcast and severely burned many passengers. Windjammer Cafe - Buffet, deck 9, forward - This seemed an unusual set up... having the buffet so far forward. Aboard The Crown and Regal Princess the casino is in this location. Rough seas can be felt most severely in this area. So here we had hordes of people trying to balance food trays with beverages in a pitching sea. I must say that I never had to wait in line and there were always open tables with a fantastic view of the surroundings. Again, the food was just okay and nothing to write home about. We saw much more fruit on Princess ... tons of fruit. It was actually hard to find fruit on the Enchantment. They really, really need to work on this. Burger/Pizza Bar - Dogs and burgers and pizza slices, deck 9 aft. Located at the port side adjacent to the solarium pool. Ample seating. Beverage machine. Entertainment The Orpheum Showroom, decks 5 & 6. A beautiful theater; well laid out. Spacious and inviting. The shows were professional and well rehearsed. My wife liked the dancers aboard Princess more ... they seemed more energetic and vital. This RCI dance troupe was well choreographed but used much more extremity gestures verses full body movement ... as if they were saving their energies for something else. The Coasters offered entertainment on night 5 with such songs as Charlie Brown, Yakity Yak, etc. A juggler, comedians and the like. Sun Deck, deck 9, forward from the main pool. Customary Caribbean sounds by a group called Mega 4. Not quite our style but well appreciated by many passengers. Casino Royale, deck 5, mid ship. Numerous slot machines. Ample gaming tables. Roulette. Craps. Caribbean Poker. Black jack minimum is $5, one table only. The rest are $10. Smoking area. Bars / Lounges The Schooner Bar, deck 6. We spent many hours here, meeting new people and chatting with the Jamaican bartenders. One entire side of the bar is glass, giving a great view. Relaxing piano music. Chips and dips from 5:30 PM. The Carousel Lounge, deck 6, aft. Live music and bar, bingo and The Captain's Party. We went here for the bingo one day. We tried to go to the Captain's Party but were both too seasick to make it through the reception line. Went back to our suite and ordered room service. The Viking Crown Lounge, deck 11, mid ship. It offers a spectacular 360-degree view of the ocean. It is an observatory during the day and a disco at night. We checked it out on day one but never went back. I swear, it looks like a big UFO parked on top of the ship. Our little joke was how RCI rented that space to the aliens for human abductions. Pool Areas Main pool, Sun Deck, deck 9. Open to all ages. Dual hot tubs. Crowded with deck chairs and sun worshippers. Note: RCI seems to have the same deck chair problem we experienced on Princess: people reserving chairs with their towels and personal affects early in the morning and returning hours later to sun bath. RCI had numerous signs around the deck -- no reserving of deck chairs. This went unheeded by the guests. This is surely a problem on most cruise lines and I don't know if there is a good solution to the problem ... perhaps more staff to confiscate the left items and take them to a massive lost and found ... then you would have guests lodging complaints that they were only gone ten minutes to get their coppertone from the cabin. I don't know ... sunbathing seems to be a hassle while at sea. The Solarium Pool, Sun Deck, deck 9, aft. As Tom Milano put it, 'If someone led you blindfolded into the Solarium pool area and then removed the blindfold, you very well might think you were in a Roman Garden in ancient times.' Limited to ages 16 and older. Dual hot tubs and shower stalls. The glassed roof slides open. Excursions Note: Make sure to book your excursions as soon as you get on board. With Princess you can book ahead of time; well before the cruise date. Not so with RCI. Their excursions are numerous, varied and well organized but as with the two excursions we took, they can fill up rather quickly and you are left with second and third options. Sint Maarten: We opted to do our own thing -- shop in Philipsburg and find a beach by taxi. The shopping was fun and we found some good deals. The natives were friendly and spoke fluent English. This southern half of the island is governed by the Dutch and has an Amsterdam flavor to it ... sort of anything goes and very laid back. After shopping we went back to the ship, (parked with four others at the new dock), refreshed and took a taxi to Dawn Beach. Dawn Beach is smaller but closer than Orient Beach. We had problems getting a taxi back. We took one vehicle which turned out not to be a taxi at all ... just a local trying to make a few extra dollars. He dropped us short of the new dock facility so as not to get in trouble with the port authority. St. Thomas: We took the Atlantis submarine excursion. Cost was approx. $75 PP and well worth it. This is real sub -- electric driven. You dive as deep as 85 feet. The water is clear and the bottom sand is white ... plenty of light and visibility. We saw numerous reef sharks, barracuda, lobster, yellow fin jacks, sea turtles; you name it. The dive lasts approx. one hour but seems longer. I filmed with a camcorder and found that I couldn't put it down. Well narrated. The shopping in St. Thomas was not what I expected. Seemed like every other store was for jewelry. This is US territory with post offices, zip codes and many regulations which I don't think you would find on St. Maarten nor The Bahamas. Nassau: Sting Ray City - swimming with the rays. Like the Atlantis Sub, this excursion filled up quickly. Make sure to get in reservations right away. Cost is approx. $50 PP. We took a boat out to Blue Lagoon Island. The facility had a bar, souvenir building, and ample bathrooms. Plenty of snorkels and masks. No foot fins allowed. At first I thought we would just be viewing the rays ... then I managed to touch one, then another and another. The staff handed out portions of squid as food and the rays responded very well -- eating right out of our hands. Pat and I were the last to leave the lagoon. We took an underwater camera and got some great shots of these beautiful creatures. There are approx. 15 rays within the enclosure, along with numerous schools of small fish. Idea: bring pressure cans of cheese whiz -- the fish will gather to feed on it. We shopped downtown but found it limiting. Absolutely no Kaluha to be found. Again, many jewelry stores and your usual gift shops. Ft. Lauderdale: We stayed an extra day at The Embassy Suites on 17th Street. We had some problems with the staff but I'm sure that much of it was due to being accustomed to the pampering one receives on a cruise. Not so in a land based hotel. Itinerary Enchantment of the Seas offers seven day cruises from Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, leaving on Sundays. She alternates between eastern and western excursions. And Finally There is a youth center. Many, many children on board. Most were behaved but children will be children. On one occasion, we entered an elevator to find a group of teen-age girls. They asked us where we wanted to go and pushed the buttons for others. They were bored and were trying to amuse themselves. I must mention that this is a cruise originating on the East coast. We are western folk and use to manners and hospitality. We found many of our fellow passengers to be rude and without any sort of etiquette. Would we sail on RCI again? Yes, the price is right and, other than the food, the cruise was a marvelous experience. Happy sailing, heberb@hevanet.com February, 2001 Read Less
Review of Eastern Caribbean 7 Day Cruise on Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) (Note: rating based on 0-5 star with 5 being outstanding) Ship (4/5) Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Line) - built in 1997, the 917 foot long ... Read More
Review of Eastern Caribbean 7 Day Cruise on Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) (Note: rating based on 0-5 star with 5 being outstanding) Ship (4/5) Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Line) - built in 1997, the 917 foot long ship is well designed, modern, well-kept. It has an excellent exercise studio with about 25 stations including treadmills, elliptical riders, stationary bikes, weight machines, and free weights. There are two salt-water pool areas including one quite one reserved for adults (with spas in both areas). Only problem was a constant vibration in room likely due to faulty engine design or mountings when at sea. Dining (4/5) A formal dining room (My Fair Lady) and a cafeteria buffet (Windjammer Cafe) are offered for all meals. The dining room meals are very good with the desserts being outstanding. The salads are moderate. Our waiter and assistant waiter were outstanding, being properly attentive and knowing our likes and dislikes, and making recommendations for selections. One evening the headwaiter even made a special dessert for us of "bananas foster" even though it never was on the menu. Each dinner had about 6 varied selections and 4 on-going selections for entrees. Room (4/5) We had a Category C Cabin - King Bed with Sitting area and a nice balcony. Complaints (1) the mattress was too thin and lumpy (although our cabin attendant was able to provide a thin foam pad which helped a little); (2) balcony dividers are too transparent (lack of visual privacy) and next door cabin lights can shine thru; (3) would have liked second lounge chair on patio. Note: no coin laundry is available on the ship (as some other cruise lines have). Ports of Call San Juan, Puerto Rico (1/5) Since we had been here several times on business trips, there was nothing new to see in the 5 hours. The main attraction is the "oldtown" which has narrow, cobblestone streets and a historic fort built in the 1600s. St. Martin (1/5) Steve spent the morning on the "America's Cup Racing Excursion" which was a 3 hr total time and included a 1 hour race against another 12 meter racing boat. We were in the "North 40" a Canadian challenger in the 1987 America's cup and the other boat was "Stars & Stripes" the 1987 winner piloted by Dennis Conner then. We ended up losing the race by half a boat length. Highly recommended if you enjoy sailing. The winds that day were about 20 knots and they did not have the sails all the way up due to this. The afternoon, we just walked to the four-lock town, which consists only of shops catering tourists (jewelry, cosmetics, liquor, and more jewelry) all duty free and about 40% below US prices. St.Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (3/5) The "downtown" area was somewhat better than St. Maartin and we spent about an hour just browsing the stores. The main occupation on the island besides retail shops is driving taxis. They are everywhere hustling, hustling, and hustling. We took one over the Magen's Bay, the prettiest beach on the island to go ocean swimming. The air temperature was upper 80s and the sun was very intense, The water is totally calm and must have been in the low 80s, like a bath and very clear. Nassau, Bahamas (3/5) A huge destination resort (mega-resort Atlantis with a gigantic aquarium, a mock archaeological dig, 18 restaurants, and a gigantic beach) is the major landmark. Shopping is the most interesting of the above ports, although prices were not necessarily the best. The people were quite friendly and not so frenetic as St. Maartin and St. Thomas. The weather was dryer and about 5 degrees cooler than the other 3 ports.steverothenberg@yahoo.comJune 2002 Read Less
I just returned from a 5-night Western Caribbean/ Bahamas (Hurricane Claudette helped us get the Bahamas part) cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas. It was amazing! The whole cruise was unbelievable for us first timers. I went with my ... Read More
I just returned from a 5-night Western Caribbean/ Bahamas (Hurricane Claudette helped us get the Bahamas part) cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas. It was amazing! The whole cruise was unbelievable for us first timers. I went with my family. There were two adults, and two children ages 14 and 7. The Ship The ship is about 6 or 7 years old but it doesn't show. It is a very elegant looking ship. The dining room is beautiful. It has a wall of trickling water with a piano on one side and a staircase with a statue of My Fair Lady at the bottom. The centrum starts on the fourth floor and goes all the way up to the tenth. There are hanging glass rods that create a beautiful rainbow on the bottom of the centrum staircase if the light hits them just right. Every area on the ship is just so amazing, there are lots of gold accents but it is not overkill. The Experience Dining- The food was just amazing. Everyone agreed that they did not have one thing that they did not like. They have many selections for every meal plus alternates and a ship-shape menu. There is something for everyone. Staff- The staff was so nice. They made it very hard to get off the ship (not literally) Just the thought of leaving them made me cry :)!! Atmosphere- Everyone from the passengers to staff was very happy to be there I don't think I saw person who wasn't smiling the whole time :)! Children's programs- The youth staff really knows what they are doing. My sister did not want to leave to go to dinner (or anywhere for that matter) so for two nights she had the option to eat with the youth staff. She took advantage of one of those and had a blast. If you travel with kids make sure to take them here because they will have a blast! The Ports Key West: Key West is really fun. My suggestion for Key West is to rent a golf cart scooter. It really helps you get around for the short amount of time you have and it is a lot better than the trolley if you are traveling with a family. Must sees: Margarittaville, Southernmost point, Hemmingway's House, and if you are traveling without children go to Sloppy Joe's. Cozumel: I personally did not like shopping in Cozumel but I loved snorkeling!! My whole family wanted to stick together and since my mother and sister did not want to snorkel we chose the Catch the Wave Snorkel Adventure. It has a glass bottom boat and there are free drink and snacks on the boat plus snorkel gear and about an hour and a half of snorkel time. It is really worth it. I was originally going to Belize but Hurricane Claudette was heading there so our captain decided to head to Coco-cay. Coco-cay: My favorite port! We used this day to relax. RC brought food (like we needed anymore food at that point but hey I ate it!) out onto the island for all of us. There are really cute shopping huts with lots of different things you can buy. This was definitely my favorite vacation and we are already planning our next cruise!!! wingzrule19@peoplepc.comAugust 2003 Read Less
After several months of living off of the "after-glow" of my first cruise, I'm finally getting back on-line to share my experience with whoever wants to know. I LIVED on this site for the 3 months prior to my cruise. ... Read More
After several months of living off of the "after-glow" of my first cruise, I'm finally getting back on-line to share my experience with whoever wants to know. I LIVED on this site for the 3 months prior to my cruise. Couldn't get enough of the advice and reviews people were willing to share. I feel I owe it to the "future cruisers" and visitors of this website to get yet another opinion on cruising. First, Royal Caribbean is a first rate operation and made things so simple in terms of booking on-line. Started out by booking my first family cruise on-line, but then ran it by a local travel agent, who made the final booking (but we still got the great website price). We received our travel documents a month before our departure (cruised Nov 2002). Got to the ship at 2 pm on the day of our departure. Departure time was 5 pm, but we got through all the checkpoints and were on the ship by 2:30 (family reunion, so there were 10 of us traveling). We went to the cabin, which was a balcony room and I am so glad we went that route! It was awesome to come and go from each port and just stand on your balcony and take in the sights. Having your own cocktails on-hand didn't hurt, either! The balcony room had a foldout couch that my 10 yr old slept on, plus the 2 twin beds that made a comfortable king bed when pushed together. We also had a refrigerator and lots of room to store things. The meals were great, although I'm not one to rush to get anywhere when on vacation. We had the early sitting because of the 2 youngsters on the trip but my preference was to get there more like 7 pm rather than 6. The later you come....the less you can eat! Food was good but not spectacular. Desserts were the best (unfortunately for the waistline). Can't expect a lot more quality when they're trying to serve thousands of people. With that in mind, it was the best one could possibly expect. Never got sick! Get to the boat early so you can take the whole ship in before it even leaves port. That helps you get your bearings for the many meals and events to come. The ENCHANTMENT was a WONDERFUL ship. Loved the staff and all the entertainment. Never wanted to leave. The Eastern Caribbean is a great itinerary, St Maarten being our favorite stop. The ship does move, and rock, a lot. If you don't like motion, I probably wouldn't go on a cruise. I loved the motion. We all slept like babies every nite. Mind over matter....just don't let it get to you and you'll have a fabulous time. Happy Cruising! Glolane@bellsouth.net May 2003 Read Less
My husband and I just returned from our 7 day W. Caribbean cruise on Enchantment out of Fort Lauderdale. We left early Sat. morning and arrived FLL around 10. We had booked at Embassy Suites and I would recommend it to anyone. We arrived ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our 7 day W. Caribbean cruise on Enchantment out of Fort Lauderdale. We left early Sat. morning and arrived FLL around 10. We had booked at Embassy Suites and I would recommend it to anyone. We arrived early (they pick up at airport) and was in time for my husband to enjoy tail end of breakfast buffet and we were in our room/suite right away as well. Spacious clean Florida style (old style Embassy as well) --buffet breakfast and made to order bfast included plus complimentary cocktail 2 hours in the early evening. We even rec'd a Sunday paper outside our door to enjoy with bfast. Lots of restaurants within walking distance and we just had meal at Outback next door. They do not take reservations so we had a half hour wait and we were there before 7. We took the first port shuttle in the am about 11:15. (Make sure if you stay there you sign up for shuttle time at check-in.) We had booked this hotel through Priceline (our first use of them) and it was one of the best overall values we have found. They take your bags right at the transporting van (RCI people). We had electronic paperwork with us and we are C&A members so we had no wait and were on board in less than 15 minutes. I was impressed how organized RC appeared here. Our cabin was ready and we went immediately to Windjammer Cafe for "Welcome Aboard" luncheon which was great. They had everything I swear and it all tasted good to me. Particularly the cream puffs that I found filled with a chocolate mousse that were to die for. I subsequently thought about them each and every day but controlled myself and only went back once later in the week for another sample. By that time all the chocolate were gone so I was out of luck there. My two or three visits to the Windjammer were positive. The food was good and the views always to die for. An aside here was my initial observation that drinks were readily available but they were not pushed on you as has been my experience on other lines. I avoid the sun as much as I can so John and I found a shady spot in the salon pool with a nice ocean breeze and that became "our spot" for the week. My husband was exhausted and could nap listening to water flowing into the pool and overall it is much quieter there than the outside pool. The outside pool was always busy and looked like the gang there was having a ball. By the salon we hot tubbed it a bit, chatted with new people and read. John also exercised in the gym twice a day so he could eat and not feel guilty. Our cabin was an inside on the Main deck and is my only complaint of the entire cruise. I think we were under the casino and I could hear high heels over my head at late night for the entire cruise. So beware if you go to bed before midnight and sleep lightly you will go to sleep by the sound of feet!! We had cabin 4541--so watch out for numbers in that area. I think we were under an uncarpeted entrance or something. Our intention this cruise unlike our Med cruise last spring was to relax and that is what we did. We are in our 50's and this is our report but another more active couple would tell a very different tale. In Key West we just took the little Conch Train tour. It is about a five minute walk from the dock, costs $20 each and lasts one and half hours. We found it to be interesting and a good way to take a sneak peak at Key West. We walked Duval St a bit --walked thru the shops and did not buy one thing the entire trip. We made it to Margaritaville--tried the native drink and conch fritters! Very good! We were back on the ship for lunch in the main dining room. We dined there for mostly all our meals. It was relaxing to us--no buffet lines or anything and we always met interesting people. On Monday we hit Cozumel which was hot. We didn't dock on the port that has Carlos and Charlie's so not word from us on that. I had booked my husband on the Dolphin Encounter as a surprise. Our kids went last year but theirs was more of a swim with the dolphins than this was and more fun. My husband got up close in the water touching, kissing but no real interaction. He was pleased though. I went along to take pictures and be his playmate. The kids have always cruised with him before so they were his playmates. On this cruise I was IT!!! My surprise came when I found out the cruise line charges for "tagalongs" like me. I thought I might have to pay for the cab ride or something but they said no $39. That was what I paid for the ride there and entrance to the park to take pictures of him with the dolphins. The park is a national park and quite nice--lots of shade and nice little beach. I hope my pictures come out. They see us Americans and other tourists coming though and have their hands out all over the place to fill with American dollars! A little 5 by 7 snap of my husband with a dolphin cost $14! We only had our credit card with us and their system wasn't running so they told to come back in an hour or two. We didn't think so! In any event they wouldn't take the info and give us the picture so we saved $14. there!! (By the way here I checked in the park and they did have the swim with the dolphins thing. RCI doesn't offer it now so you would have to book on your own prior to sailing. I checked and it cost $120 pp. You would need to pay for taxi there and back and admission to the park on top of that but in comparison to the 99 I paid for my husband. I can assure you it would be well worth it. I am not crazy about the Cozumel we saw --neither was my husband--and once we were done there we headed back to the ship and lunch. It was a very hot day there. Soon we were back on our shady breezy spot by the pool. The two hot tubs there were great and seldom filled. They put down the top of that pool so to speak each and every day and it is delightful there. Costa Maya day we never left the ship and just rested in our spot and dined. We have seen a couple of the shows by this point. There was a comedian who was pretty good. And the Headliners a South American by origin I think brother comedy/dance act was VERY good. We saw the Dream production show .It was clear much effort had been put into this but it was just okay. Others loved it so a matter of taste. We attended the Cruise Critic party arriving a bit late. With 84 signed up the 30 or so who arrived was a disappointing number. I did meet several people I have met here on line and saw some of them again several times on the cruise. It was like many of those dreadful cocktail parties we have all been to--people didn't mix that well. They took a group picture as well. The Crown and Anchor party was VERY well done and we enjoyed it more than any of the others we have attended. Nice drinks and nice horsd's--it happened in 2 shifts before each dinner seating. I took a nice massage on Wed--the mud wrap thing that was delicious and expensive. We went one day to the wine tasting party that was well done--although the moderator did not speak clear enough English for me. We sat with some fun people we had met at the safety drill first day. Friday was our best day of the entire cruise. We headed out for for our stingray tour which we had booked privately. Thanks to recs here we booked with Nativeway. They were the most reasonable and emailed promptly to my questions. They said they would be waiting for us once our tender came in and true to their promise they were standing there with sign in hand and our name on it when we arrived. We had half hour to browse around the shops before we left at 10. There were thirteen in our group and the boat was plenty spacious. We liked what we saw of Grand Cayman on our 15 minute drive to the yacht club. He told us there is zero unemployment on GC and it showed. From the little we saw we would like to go back there again sometime and spend more time. Also I noticed in comparison to St Thomas people weren't bothering us at all to take taxis or buy something. He took us out snorkeling first then to the stingray sandbar and then snorkeling again. The stingrays are fascinating and you stand with them in the most glorious of warm clear bath water. I touched them and fed them and took a bunch of pictures. Our little group had a great deal of fun and I would highly recommend this company!!! (If the boss guy at Nativeway is reading this I told you I would recommend you!) He charges only 25 pp if you book online and I think 30 if you find him on the dock. We were fortunate the day we were there as only big cruise ship. Normal days there are 5 cruise ships so I think it can be crazy and especially on small stingray area. He served water and juice on board and provided snorkeling equipment. He will drop you at the beach or take you back to port. This day "The World" ship was anchored nearby. That is the ship where they are selling suites starting at 2.5 million and on up to 7.5!! Their tender went back and forth many times with one or two people aboard each time. I guess when you pay that for a ship ride you don't have to wait til the tender fills up eh?? Another afternoon of leisure in our "special spot" and then dinner and the Honeymoon two hour spa special. My husband had never had a massage before and thought he died and went to heaven. Included was a facial, scalp massage and this foot leg massage thing that was heavenly. All this with a glass of champagne!!! We slept like babies that night footsteps and all! Sat. the ship was busy for our last day at sea--Everyone seemed "into" cruising by this point as it was about to be over! We relaxed again you know where and it was a beautiful day. We had lots of goodbyes to say at dinner and email exchanges etc. We loved our waiter John from Chile and our assistant Sophie from Trinidad! They were the best. Disembarkation was orderly easy and a cab was readily available to whisk us off to the airport (with tip $10) and back to our real world. I recommend this trip highly. It was excellent value and just easy and good. Any questions give me a holler! Msaex1@aol.com February 2003 Read Less
This was our first cruise and we learned so much from reading everyone's reviews, that we wanted to be sure and submit one ourselves. Thanks to everyone for helping to answer all our questions on the Cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we learned so much from reading everyone's reviews, that we wanted to be sure and submit one ourselves. Thanks to everyone for helping to answer all our questions on the Cruise Critic message boards—I believe it really helped to make a great experience even better. So anyway, here's our review......sorry it's so long, but hopefully others will find the information helpful. Pre-night We flew out of DC on Saturday night with a direct flight to Fort Lauderdale (by the way, this is quite possibly the ugliest, dumpiest airport I've ever seen). We briefly considered flying down the same morning, but given that it's hurricane season we were worried about the possibility of weather-related flight delays. In retrospect I'm glad we did, as we were well-rested by the time we boarded on Sunday. We booked our airfare separately ($180 per person on US Airways) and saved a considerable amount over what RCI was charging. We had reserved a room at the AmeriSuites in Fort Lauderdale which was very nice and a great deal at just $69 a night. There was a free shuttle which took us from the airport to the hotel (just look for the courtesy phone near baggage claim to call), and we walked to dinner at the Outback Steakhouse across the street. The next morning we ate at the complimentary breakfast buffet, and then walked down the street a few blocks to Publix where we bought two twelve-packs of Diet Coke (I am a true addict) to bring with us on board. We didn't purchase RCI transfers as there was another free shuttle from the hotel to the pier. I was worried that the shuttle wouldn't take us to the ship until official boarding time at 2:00 (we wanted to go earlier), but it turned out that this wasn't a problem. We were at the pier by 11:15. All in all this worked out very well and we were very pleased with AmeriSuites. Embarkation Thanks to everyone's advice, we were at the pier early and avoided the crowds. Even though our documents said that boarding began at 2:00, it actually started much sooner. In general, the embarkation process seemed very well-organized—I was pleasantly surprised. We were on the ship by 11:45 or 12:00 and had lots of time to explore and take pictures while everything was still relatively empty. We found our cabin easily and went straight to the Windjammer for lunch. Accommodations We had reserved a cat D stateroom with a guarantee about three and a half months in advance. Although we weren't upgraded (I believe the ship was full) we got a terrific price to begin with and were very pleased with our cabin which was on the seventh floor, starboard side. The cat C's (which we had seriously considered) were bigger of course, and had bathtubs, but I felt the D was quite adequate and was glad to have saved the extra money. There were just two of us and we never felt cramped. Our cabin was located just across from the bow elevator bank. Although I was a little worried about noise from the hallway, we heard nothing. The walls must have been quite thick as we also heard no noise from the cabins on either side. The beds, pillows, and sheets were quite comfortable. On the first afternoon, Clement, our cabin steward, asked if we wanted the two twin beds pushed together. We indicated that we did and thereafter he made them up as one. Clement cleaned our room twice a day and did a fine job, although we rarely saw him. Each morning he would organize the bed and sofa pillows in a new and interesting design. The cabin had plenty of storage space—we couldn't use it all, and even though the bathroom was somewhat small it was much nicer than I expected. We also had a comfortable couch, color TV, refrigerator (not a mini-bar) and lighted vanity. The balcony was small (no room for lounge chairs) but quite adequate and we used it a lot. It was nice to have a little bit of our own private deck space. It was especially nice to eat breakfast there in the mornings as we pulled into port. My only (brief) disappointment was that the floor was concrete rather than wood. All in all, I don't think I could cruise again without a private balcony. The Ship The Enchantment is a very pretty ship. The public areas reminded us of what you might find in a nice Hyatt or Marriott hotel—as others have said, lots of brass, glass, and soft colors. It seemed to be well laid-out and we had little trouble finding our way around. The Centrum is beautiful and I loved all the windows. My only complaint is that many of them were dirty. The carpet was also a little worn and dirty in selected spots. Other than that it was difficult to tell the ship's age. For quiet spots, try the seating areas on the 7th and 8th floors. The library has a large balcony which I never saw anyone use. For the fitness buffs out there—although RCI advertises that the ship has a jogging track, it runs right past the pool area on the 10th floor and there would be too many sunbathers in the way unless you used it very early in the morning or late in the evening. There are, of course, treadmills in the ShipShape Centre. The ShipShape Centre also had a few Stairsteppers, Lifecycles and Elliptical machines. We never had a wait to use the equipment. There were also a few Cybex weight machines (shoulders, quads, chest, back, and hamstrings) and dumbells up to 35lbs. Food and Drinks Overall, we found the food to be good, but not excellent. We ate in the dining room every evening, where the service was outstanding. I can't remember the last time I had someone cut my meat for me or removed my seafood from it's shell! Our waiter, Alex, from Thailand, was wonderful as was the head waiter, Earl, from Jamaica. Follow their recommendations for the best dishes. If you don't like something they're very quick to bring you another selection. We had second seating which was perfect for us, since we generally are night owls. It was nice not having to rush back from ports to get ready for dinner. The first night, Sunday, was casual, Monday was formal, Tuesday was casual (Caribbean night), Wednesday was smart-casual (Captain's favorite), Thursday was casual (Italian night), Friday was formal (French night), and Saturday was casual (International night). Most everyone was dressed very appropriately on all seven evenings (I'd say about 30% in tuxes and 70% in dark suits for the men on formal nights). Bring your camera and don't miss the waiters' flaming baba-loo and Macarena dances on Caribbean night, O Sole Mio on Italian night, or their farewell show on International night. My favorite dish was the Rosemary Chicken on our very first night. In general, the fish was excellent. The steaks (filet mignon, New York strip, etc.) were quite good as well. I would avoid the seafood pasta (too salty). Lobster tails are served on Friday, the second formal night and if you want extra the waiters are quick to oblige. Try the Escargot as an appetizer on French night—it was very good and I didn't expect to like it. Desserts were somewhat disappointing to me. I've had much better even in casual restaurants here at home. The best selection was usually the ice cream. We stuck to the Windjammer for lunch on all but one day. Food was better in the dining room, but for lunch we preferred the less formal atmosphere. If you do try the dining room at lunch go for the Seafood Brochettes (sp?) on the first day at sea. This was one of the best meals we had all week. The garlic mashed potatoes were awesome. In the Windjammer food was much better than we expected and, in my opinion, there was good variety and selection as well. We had breakfast in the Windjammer twice but stuck to room service on the other five mornings. I wished they had offered a wider selection on the room service breakfast menu. By the fifth day we were getting tired of scrambled eggs, omelets, cereal, and danishes. The selection during breakfast in the Windjammer was very good and the food was fine. Our tablemates felt that breakfast in the dining room was even better. Room service is available 24 hours a day from a somewhat limited menu. In general the portions were small, so you may want to order more than one thing. I've heard that you can order anything being served in the dining room during dinner hours but we never tried this. On one day our food arrived in less than 10 minutes and the next day it took thirty. I think it largely depends on the time of day. Food wasn't piping hot, but it wasn't cold either. Pizza, hot dogs, etc. are available in the Solarium up until 4 am. The pizza was OK, but nothing great. The Windjammer also serves a nice afternoon snack (cookies, finger sandwiches, etc.) between 4 and 5 each afternoon. Alcoholic drinks were good and most were quite strong. I especially liked the frozen rum runners and piña coladas. Fancy frozen drinks will run you around $6 unless you order the specials which are usually $3.25. Beer ran about the same price as in nice bars at here at home. We aren't wine drinkers, so I can't provide much information in this area. We were glad to have brought Diet Coke from home, which we kept in our cabin's refrigerator. Except in the dining room where it's free with your meal, soda will run you $1.50 per can. I only saw milk, lemonade, water, or iced tea at lunch in the Windjammer. The gala midnight buffet is on Friday night and it's truly spectacular. Picture-taking is from 11:30 to 12:30. Pig out between 12:30 and 1:30. We took a million pictures, but were too tired to stay up for the eating part. You won't believe what they can do with bread. The butter sculptures and the gorgeous floral bouquets made from turnips and peppers are incredible. Look for the melon carvings as well. There appeared to be a million different chocolate desserts and we also saw chocolate-covered strawberries (my personal favorite). In addition, there were plenty of non-dessert selections. Smaller scale buffets are served on several other nights at the same time. For those who are interested, we each gained about 3 lbs. over the course of the week, which I can't believe given that it seemed we were eating or drinking constantly! Maybe using the stairs helped....... Ports We chose the Western itinerary, which stopped at Key West on Monday, Cozumel Tuesday, Grand Cayman on Thursday, and Ocho Rios on Friday. Wednesday and Saturday were sea days. I have to say, it was really nice having that last sea day to rest and relax before the end of our cruise. Although there were hurricanes all around us at one point, our late September weather was very nice—mostly sunny with temps in the low to mid- 80's. It rained only twice during the week—once in Grand Cayman for about 10 minutes just as we finished the Stingray City tour, and the second time during dinner on our final sea day. Key West was very nice, but probably my least favorite port. We didn't book a ship-sponsored excursion and spent much of our time just shopping and walking around. The shops we were in seemed pretty touristy for the most part. We weren't in the market for diamonds or other really expensive items so I can't comment on those stores. Definitely try the frozen, chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick from the Key West Lime store—it was incredible. We also stopped at Key West Aloe and picked up some sunburn ointment (something we really needed by the end of the week!). In the afternoon we chose to take the Conch Train tour and wish we would've taken the Old Town Trolley instead. I've heard that both are equally nice island tours, but the train is non-stop with the exception of one bathroom break about halfway through. It's my understanding that the trolley allows you to get off and spend some time at popular sights. When ready, you can catch one of the next trolleys to continue your tour. We would like to have taken more pictures along the way on our train tour, but we were moving too fast and couldn't get off. Once it was over, there really wasn't time for us to go back to any of the neat places we'd seen. In particular we'd like to have stopped at the Southernmost point marker and at Hemingway's house. If I had it to do over again, I might take a ship-sponsored excursion here. Our tablemates did the snorkeling tour and really enjoyed it. Cozumel was lots of fun and along with Grand Cayman was one of my favorite ports. Once again, we opted to go out on our own. It was great having the chance to practice my rusty Spanish, although almost everyone seemed to speak English anyway. We didn't dock here until 12:30—the ship had to drop people off first at Playa del Carmen for the Tulum tour—but it was really nice to sleep in. Immediately after disembarking we took a cab to Pancho's Backyard for lunch. I can't recommend this restaurant enough. The food was outstanding and reasonably priced. The outdoor patio didn't have water views but it was still beautiful and, Fernando, our waiter was one of the nicest, most helpful people we met in any port, all week long. After lunch he took our picture with the two marimba players who played wonderful music throughout our meal. If you eat lunch on the ship here you're really missing out! After lunch we took another cab (I think these guys train on the Indianapolis motor speedway) to Chankanaab National Park—about 10 minutes away. The entrance fee was $10 per person but well worth it. The beach here is very nice, with lounge chairs, bar service, and grass umbrellas. They also have a dolphin park. Although we chose not to do it, you can actually swim with the dolphins for around $120 a person (be sure to reserve a spot well in advance for this). It looked like great fun. At Chankanaab we were able to do some very good snorkeling right off the beach. They rent equipment if you don't have it, although we brought our own masks and snorkels and were glad to have done so. Be careful not to get salt water in your eyes—it really burns. Chankanaab also offers clean dressing rooms with showers and lockers. If you plan to go in the woods at all, be sure to bring bug spray. I had multiple bites after only 5 minutes. Also, don't miss the large (almost cat-sized) monitor lizards. I don't believe they're dangerous, but they do make for a great photo opp. We saw several within only a few hours. Before heading back to the ship we decided to stop in at the infamous Carlos and Charlie's for a drink. We ended up having several. What a party! This probably isn't the place to bring your kids. I felt like I was back on college Spring Break again. Although we only had time to stay for about an hour, we had a blast. If you like to party, this is definitely the place to go. Watch for the shooter girl who pours shots directly into your mouth and then shakes them up for you. Although we didn't buy much in Cozumel they seemed to have some very nice Mexican crafts. Some vendors will call out to you as you walk by, but this is nothing compared to Jamaica. Be sure to bargain with them if you want a good price. We bought a pair of Onyx cuff-links for half the price they originally quoted. Grand Cayman was definitely the most expensive of the islands, but very clean. It was here that we took our only ship-sponsored excursion, the swim with stingrays. Stingray City was lots of fun and the stingrays really do seem very tame. They will eat right from your hand if you let them. Don't worry if you're a non-swimmer—the water on the sandbar is only waist deep. After the tour we took a taxi to The Treehouse for lunch. The views here are beautiful. Although service was slow, the food was very good. Try the conch fritters for an appetizer (excellent!) with a bottle of Stingray beer. The Treehouse also has its own pair of colorful parrots which live in a tree next to the patio. In the afternoon we opted for some more snorkeling, but wanted to do it on our own. We decided to try Eden Rock, which is immediately around the corner from the cruise ship pier. For the best views we were directed to an area which, unfortunately, looked to be about 300 feet off shore. The water here was quite deep. By the time we swam out we were already tired. This made me a bit nervous as I am not a strong swimmer, so we turned back just short of the spot we were aiming for. Although the water was very clear, we really saw very few fish. I would not do this again. We also were of the impression that Eden Rock was a part of seven-mile beach, when in actuality it is not. As per our waitress at the Treehouse, there really is no good snorkeling off seven-mile beach anyway. If I had it to do over again, I would either spend the afternoon at the beach or take an organized snorkeling tour. I really can't comment on the shopping in Grand Cayman other than to say that the vendors are not aggressive. If you do shop here, be cognizant of the exchange rate. One US dollar is worth only $.80 in Cayman money. In Jamaica we also had a very nice time. After quite a bit of research, we pre-booked an independent island tour with Peat Taylor for $25 per adult and $15 per child. Peat came highly recommended on the Cruise Critic message boards and given our experience, I would highly recommend him as well. Anyone interested in additional information can fax Peat at 876-975-0205 or phone him at 876-975-0028. He is extremely nice and seems both well-known and respected on the island. Peat met us inside the gates to the cruise ship dock at 8:00 am and took us wherever we wanted to go in his air-conditioned van. Our tour had only 4 people. An additional 3 persons had also pre-booked with him but, unfortunately, they never showed up. Peat waited well over an hour for them in the hot sun after dropping us off at Dunn's River Falls, so I would have to say that he's very reliable. We felt badly for him that someone would be so inconsiderate. If he had known that our group would be only 4 persons he could have saved money by renting a smaller vehicle. Our first stop in the morning was at Dunn's River Falls (the $6 entrance fee is included in Peat's tour price) where Peat dropped us off and made arrangements to pick us up again 2 hours later. The falls are gorgeous and they are a must-see. Climbing them was lots of fun and minimally strenuous, although with the slippery rocks it can be easy to slip and fall. Climbing is easier if you take the guide's advice and hold hands with the persons in front and behind you. The ship's photographer was there to take pictures and the park's guide also took some for us with our own camera. Be sure to bring water shoes and count on getting pretty wet. Both changing rooms and lockers are available. The only downside to this experience was walking the gauntlet of extremely aggressive vendors at the park's exit. When we chose not to buy anything we were insulted and accused of failing to support Jamaica's economy. If you wish to avoid this, go out through the entranceway instead. Also beware of the Jamaican women (?) with a flower-covered donkey along the walkway leading to the falls. If you attempt to take a picture she will charge you $5. We passed on this. After the falls Peat took us on a driving tour of the Jamaican countryside, including Fern Gully, which is a small patch of rain forest. We were able to pull over and take pictures anywhere we wished. Peat seems to be extremely knowledgeable and pointed out all sorts of plant and animal life along the way. The countryside is beautiful, but there also is a great deal of poverty. Afterwards and at our request, we drove to a nice shopping area called Soni's. Here we ate lunch at a place called Cafe Mango which was OK, but nothing wonderful. We also attempted to cash a traveler's check at a jewelry store which, unfortunately, was a huge hassle. Although we got our money, I wouldn't recommend trying to do this. Our only purchases here were some cheap jewelry and a bottle of rum. When Peat picked us up again, we moved on to the beach. Mahogany beach is blissfully vendor-free and I believe it is used almost exclusively by cruise-ship passengers. Although the beach area is small it's also quite pretty. There is no entrance fee and lounge chairs, umbrellas, and bar service are all available. Promptly at 4:15, Peat returned us to the ship. Along the return drive he serenaded us with Jamaican songs. All in all it was a terrific and very full day—a much better value than the ship's excursions where a visit to the falls on its own is more expensive than our entire day of activities. Regardless of what you choose to do in Jamaica, I wouldn't recommend going out on your own. Although I don't fault anyone for trying to earn a living, the aggressive taxi drivers, hair braiders, etc. can get to be quite annoying. We also were offered drugs during our time at the shopping center, although in this case a simple no thank you was sufficient. Entertainment and Activities Overall we found entertainment on the Enchantment to be quite good. Although we aren't big fans of song and dance numbers, the wave revue dance team seemed very talented. They did production numbers on two separate nights—"Sweet Dreams" and "Flashback"—although we missed the second of these. The ship's resident comedian (I can't remember his name) was so-so, but we thought the guest comedian (who opens for Jerry Seinfeld) was very good. The magicians were good as well. Don't miss the Newlywed/Not so Newlywed game which takes place only once, after the second seating. It is hilarious. The juggler, Jeff Traveggia, was also pretty good. Our headliner was a lounge singer from Australia named Greg Bonham. I had never heard of him but he seemed OK if you're one who enjoys lounge music (we generally don't). If I had it to do over again, I would probably skip this night. The best part of the farewell show was definitely the cruise staff's "If I were Not Upon the Seas" skit. Our Cruise Director was Kyle Dodson. I thought he did a good job but this being our first cruise, I don't have much basis for comparison. We really didn't participate in too many ship-sponsored activities. The bingo was lots of fun, and on the last day they gave away over $4,000. We didn't do much gambling but I understand that one man won $22,000 playing Caribbean stud poker. Unfortunately, my only experience was losing $20 on the slot machines. Although we didn't participate, Western Quest was hilarious—definitely don't miss this. The horse racing was also fun to watch. We spent much of our time on sea days laying out by the pool listening to Calypso music by the band Mega 4 (Who Let the Dawgs Out??) which was lots of fun. In general, I preferred to use the 10th deck which is one deck above the main pool area. I didn't want to swim, and there seemed to be a better breeze here. Also, there were more lounge chairs available. Yes, there was chair saving but this didn't seem to be much of a problem. If all I saw were towels I assumed the chair was available. The Solarium pool was beautiful but we didn't make much use of this area. We also enjoyed the Viking Crown lounge which played popular dance and alternative music till late into the night. There always seemed to be a good crowd here and lots of dancing. Ballroom/Oldies/Country & Western music and dancing was offered on several nights in the Carousel Lounge although this really wasn't our thing. Debarkation On Saturday evening we packed our bags and were to have them in the hall outside our room by midnight. It hurt having to vacate our cabin by 7:30am the next morning, but in general we felt that debarkation was as well-organized as possible under the circumstances. Our sign and sail bill was outside our door when we exited the cabin and there seemed to be no errors. Be sure to look for this early. If there are mistakes you have only 15 minutes (between 7:30 and 7:45am) to contest them at the Purser's Desk. After 7:45, any challenges must be made via an official letter to Royal Caribbean. We went directly to breakfast after leaving our cabin, and then to the photo gallery to select and purchase our pictures. We then had to find a spot in one of the public seating areas to wait for our luggage tag color to be called. This was, perhaps the only time when the ship felt crowded to us. There really weren't enough seats to go around so people were sitting everywhere. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait long. We were off the ship by 9:30 and soon were searching for our luggage. We did have a brief moment of panic when one of our bags seemed to be missing, but it eventually turned up in one of the wrong color groups. Definitely tie a ribbon or something else that's brightly colored to the handle of your bags—it will help tremendously when you go looking for them at debarkation. We quickly caught a taxi to the airport, which cost only $9.00 plus tip, but our return flight wasn't until 12:30 so we waited more than 2 hours for boarding. If I had it to do over again, I believe I would schedule something a little earlier. Trust me—Fort Lauderdale airport isn't somewhere that you want to spend a lot of time waiting. Miscellaneous I would have to say that all age groups were well-represented on this cruise, with the possible exception of school-aged children. Actually, we saw very few children in general, which was one reason why we chose to sail in late September. Many of those our age (30 and 31) were honeymoon couples (156 of them total) and there were also many older couples celebrating anniversaries. I'd say the average age was 40-something. Although I'm quite prone to motion-sickness and was a little worried about our cabin's location near the bow, we had mostly calm seas and in general, we felt very little movement. What we did feel consistently was a slight bumping, which may simply have been vibration from the engine although I wasn't sure. It kept me awake a little on the first night but I quickly got used to it and had no problems thereafter. It didn't bother my fiancE at all. With that said, I would still recommend that anyone who is prone to motion sickness bring along some Bonine or ginger. I took 2 ginger capsules each morning and evening as a precaution, and was glad to have it with me on the 2 occasions when it did get a little rough. The worst night was the last evening of our cruise when I also took some Bonine. I'm fairly certain that I would have been sick without it, even though I would guess that the motion was minimal compared to what happens in truly rough seas. Throughout the cruise there were many opportunities to have our picture taken by the ship's photographer. I would highly recommend to others that you take advantage of this. We always seem to come back from vacation with pictures of beautiful scenery and one or the other of us in the foreground, but hardly any photos proving that we actually were on the trip together. If you've had the same experience, here's your opportunity to change that. The pictures aren't cheap, but you don't have to buy anything that you don't like. It was especially nice to have our picture taken in formalwear. For us this is a rare opportunity. If you plan to do any shopping in the ship's boutiques, be sure to wait for the end of the week. Although a few items sell out, there are also a number of things (T-shirts, etc.) which will go on sale. The prices are never low but they definitely get better as the week progresses. In retrospect, there are only a few things about this vacation which I would do differently. First, I would make better use of the ship's excursions on port days, even though I definitely think they're over-priced. We enjoyed most of the places that we went on our own, but we were a little bored in Key West. Also, with the exception of Jamaica, it was a bit of a hassle getting from place to place and worrying about what to do next. This leads me to the second thing I would do differently, which is to schedule fewer activities for one day. Port days were generally fun but not relaxing for us. We tried to pack way too many things into a short time period. Overall I have to say that we were very pleased with this vacation. The ship was beautiful and the atmosphere was one of casual elegance. Service was very good to excellent. Those who wanted to party had plenty of options, while those who preferred to relax could do that as well. I really felt that the crew went all-out to show us a good time. We would definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again. 10/03/00 Read Less
We had the best time! This review will be from the perspective of bringing 2 children along and not an adult vacation. The ship is kid friendly. I must brag...in saying that we got complimented several times by ship guests that our ... Read More
We had the best time! This review will be from the perspective of bringing 2 children along and not an adult vacation. The ship is kid friendly. I must brag...in saying that we got complimented several times by ship guests that our children were very well behaved. I liked getting those compliments as it enforced the fact that we are doing things right as parents. We will definitely being taking our kids again on a family cruise vacation. We were in Cat C cabin 8086 at the aft of the ship... the best choice we made. . The balcony was huge huge huge... you could fit a dining room table with 8 chairs and still have room to dance. On windy days we sat on our balcony and had our homemade cocktails while the kids had the afternoon power nap. We brought our 2 daughters with us age 4 and 7 and they had a ball. They spent a lot of their time at the kids club..their choice...it was fantastic! The staff was great (4 Canadians and 1 American running the show). If anyone has any questions about the kids program or daycare please ask. Beepers were provided to parents of 3 - 5 year olds. Your child must, must, must be toilet trained they do not have the facilities to change diapers. Also you need proof that your child is 3 else you are not going to be allowed to participate. There were 180 kids on board this cruise it was noticeable at the pool but for those who did not want the kids could go to another pool where kids under 16 were not allowed. Our kids were not allowed in the hot tub and we did not allow them to go. I don't like them to use public hot tubs anyway. The food was excellent better than the Princess cruise we were on. The variety of food was nice. We enjoyed the curry and springrolls as well as the shrimp and lobster. Kids menu at dinner was available but they ended up eating Caesar Salad every night. We did not participate in any midnight buffets, bingo or other organized events other than those events that included the kids. I.e. ship building competition and watching the kids talent show. We only went to 2 of the shows: Both were dancing and singing our 7 year old came with us and loved them both. We arrived in Ft Lauderdale the day before the cruise and bought our wine, rum, juice, pop and snacks to bring on board in our carry-on). On sailing day we arrived at 11:00 am to board. Was a good idea and got on no problem and settled in our cabin. Bags arrived fairly soon after. I would definitely arrive a day before a cruise again. It's more relaxing. I found the ship clean and our room was clean. The carpets could use a scrub but it didn't bother me too much. I found that on the RCCL you need to be the one to find out information yourself. They do not spoonfeed you like some other cruise lines. They did put information in your room each evening but I still thought that we needed to dig further to find out the real story on things. I.e. Immigration, excursions. The security on getting on and off the ship should be modernized. I know we had our cards and in some cases a stamp. But they had people there with "clickers" counting people on and off. You would think that with the amount of money this cruise line makes they could afford a more sophisticated system. On Princess when boarding, you stick your card in a machine look into a lens and it takes your picture. So when you go on and off the ship you stick your card in this machine and a security person looks at the picture in the computer and sees your smiling face. So... when the ship leaves port they know exactly who is not on board. This would also help the day non-US residents need to go through immigration when they keep calling for Joe Smith and James Jones and they decided to stay in Grand Cayman. Maybe they would release the ship faster... Just a thought..(do understand that some of their other ships are being upgraded so maybe the Enchantment will also be done). THE PORTS Note: All organized tours did not get back when they said they would. They were always late so ensure that you make provisions for your kids just in case this happens. As kids club is from (9:00 to 12:00 noon) so any extended hours before and after need to be arranged. Read Less
We cruised on June 28 to the western Caribbean, the Ship was great but the ports of call left a lot to be desired. I'm not a fan of Mexico. We'll stick with the southern and eastern. The Enchantment of the Seas was a very ... Read More
We cruised on June 28 to the western Caribbean, the Ship was great but the ports of call left a lot to be desired. I'm not a fan of Mexico. We'll stick with the southern and eastern. The Enchantment of the Seas was a very nice and a very clean ship. We stayed on the 7th deck with 52 other cruisers, some seasoned and a few novices. Everyone loved it. Not a complaint out of the bunch. The only thing that people mentioned was the kids getting to wild around the pool, this is an area that is primed for disaster. Kids were jumping from the Hot tub into the pool, no matter who was under them. FoodThe windjammer was always above par where the dining room was just par. The selections could have been better in the dining room. What they did prepare was very good. The service on board was also perfect. Everyone who we came in contact with was always polite and well presented. Shows were so so...Nothing to rave about...Out of three comedians only one was funny....One guy was older than Jack Benny and he's dead. The Cruise Line gave us a free cocktail hour because of the size of our group. They did an excellent job and again service was top notch. The ship was in excellent condition, always well maintained. Won some cash in the casino. Bingo: (what a ship scam) the people like it though. Bar service was great, food at all locations was always hot and fresh. We will again travel on RCI, most likely to the southern Caribbean. Read Less
This was our second family cruise on a Royal Caribbean vessel. Thus, we had not only other cruise lines to compare this cruise to, but also another vessel in the RCCL (Monarch of the Seas) stable. The embarkation procedures are very ... Read More
This was our second family cruise on a Royal Caribbean vessel. Thus, we had not only other cruise lines to compare this cruise to, but also another vessel in the RCCL (Monarch of the Seas) stable. The embarkation procedures are very efficient and getting past the initial phase of signing on and getting your vessel cards went smoothly. However, having to show the card to get past the entrance gate, again less than 100 feet away, and then a third time at the gangway entrance was a bit of overkill. I know they want to be sure that only passengers embark, but not in the space of 100 yards of enclosed access controlled space. I had to get two additional keys so that I would have one to my spouse's cabin and my daughter would have one to our children's' cabin. This is due to RCCL's requirement of an adult on the booking in each room. Made no real sense, as we did not stay in the kids' room at all. As always, watch your use of the card for all purchases that you make on the vessel. If you have a limited budget, it may sneak up on you. They are easy to use and you do not have to carry cash around with you onboard (not even in the casino). We had requested the main dining seating and wanted to be seated with friends we had made on our last cruise. This was accommodated. No complaints about the seating or the location in the dining room. Our dining room waiter was very competent and friendly. He did his best to accomplish all that we asked of him. He lost his normal assistant waiter on the fourth day of the cruise due to illness. This broke down the normal expectations of the assistant waiter knowing everyone's dinner needs that is normally associated with a week long cruise. We actually had to retrain two other assistant waiters to our likes and dislikes concerning drinks, breads, and salads. I realize that this was an unfortunate occurrence (illness), but we should have been assigned one other assistant waiter for the last three days. At one point it appeared our headwaiter would have to serve as our table waiter and the table waiter would have to serve as our assistant waiter. However, at the last moment a replacement assistant waiter was located and pressed into service. Our headwaiter was excellent. He made several appearances at every evening meal. He was personable and seemed to be interested in our well-being and service. The food was good, but it did not compare to the Celebrity Cruise Line's Galaxy. The meals were always served timely and at the correct temperature. We were not rushed by the staff and we were allowed to have leisurely meals. This is greatly appreciated given the pace of the day ashore and rushes of the excursions. We were allowed to try as many different dishes as we wanted. This selection went from appetizers to desserts. The meal selections seemed to be the same as we experienced on last years Monarch cruise. There needed to be additional beef dishes other than steak. Perhaps a meal such as a London broil or the like could be served. Broccoli was ever present. Given that I do not like broccoli, this was somewhat of a minor problem. The midnight buffets were good. On most nights there was not a buffet and you would have to be in the right lounge to be served appetizers from trays. The waiters were excellent. If you asked them to return with a certain choice, they always did. Drinks were good. If you travel with children (under 18) and your children drink a lot of sodas, get the $20.00 drink sticker on their card. If not, you will be paying $1.50 per soda for the whole trip outside the dining room. They also have a card for 12 non-alcoholic drinks for the younger set. This was $24.00. These drinks normally sell for $3.50 each. This is another deal if your child enjoys false pina coladas, daiquiris, and the like. Bar service was good. The shops were limited in their assortment of things to buy. The shop hours, especially the photo gallery, was not sequenced to be convenient to the passengers. When you were at sea all day, you could hit the shipboard shops and see what they had to offer. On port days, they closed too early. The main theater shows were on the whole good. The shows included a comedian/juggler, a male comedian impressionist singer, a female impressionist singer, a female singer, and a comedian in addition to the ships singers and dancers. The ships orchestra was good, but they overpowered the singers at times. The cruise director's jokes were old and tired. If you have been on other cruises, you have heard the questions of first time cruisers on each one of them. Lounge entertainers were good. I guess that you have to have line dancing every night or you just did not do enough to get the cruisers involved. It seemed like it was every night. In any event, you did get to dance with your spouse with each of you making physical contact with each other after the line dancing faded away. Oh yea, country and western dancing is not made up of line dances. Two steps and waltzes are a lot more enjoyable, at least to me. In any event, if you wait in the lounge long enough, they stop the line dancing and get back to basics. The westernquest scavenger hunt was fun. Battle of the sexes was entertaining. The 'name that tune' event was not timed to allow both dinner seatings the chance to play. Given that it took only thirty minutes, it should have been played at least 15 minutes later and everyone could have played. Theme night parties seemed to go over well. EXCURSIONS The number one complaint that I have about the cruise was that there was not enough time allowed for the passengers in the ports of call. Key West, Florida was a zip in and out. We were supposed to be on a scuba excursion that was to leave at 8:30 and take no more than 4 hours (translated into back by 12:30). We waited for twenty minutes at the wharf next to the ship. We were shuttled about five minutes away to the dock to wait another 30 minutes for the scuba diving boat to fuel up and come pick us up. With the vessel leaving at 3:00 p.m. and passengers to be back on board by 2:30, we calculated we had two hours to walk eight blocks to see Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. We bought the tickets for that to do after the scuba tour. When we got back in from the scuba tour it was 2:01 p.m. Throw away $44.00 for the Ripley's museum. There was no problem on the water with the scuba tour, however the tour operator should have had the boat fueled and sitting at our dock ready to go. Key West should not be a port of call. Rating on a scale of 1-10 for Key West....2. I had my scuba mask break a piece that is not in the normal every day save a dive kit. I left a written note for the ships diving coordinator as instructed by an assistant purser. It was not responded to or answered before my next port. Given that we were to be scuba diving in Cozumel the next day, this was not appreciated. I had to go find a dive shop on my own without the help of a person who probably could have helped me with just a note or a personal comment. I had to buy a new mask, as I did not have the time to find a shop that dealt in Oceanic equipment to obtain a piece to repair the mask. The ship then hauled it to Cozumel, Mexico overnight. This should have been a day at sea (there were two days at sea). Cozumel was a good port of call. My son and I went scuba diving. My wife and daughter went horseback riding. Both were excellent. Rating on a scale of 1-10. . . 8. We then traveled to Costa Maya, Mexico. This port is not ready for cruise ships. It had what amounted to a Mexican market that was not fully operational, a salt-water pool, a small beach nearby and a lot of extended travel excursions. Our snorkeling tour was canceled the night before we arrived with the only reason given being the snorkeling sight was a problem. There was very little left to choose from and we were given less than one hour to decide to go on something else (excursion desk hours were restricted). The result was to take the day off and spend 1 hour in the shops ashore and return to the ship. Rating on a scale of 1-10. . . 1. We then spent our first 'day at sea'. This was a short trip between Costa Maya, Mexico and Grand Cayman, BWI. This should have been an overnight transit reaching Grand Cayman the next morning. The day at sea was relaxing, but it would have been better spent between Key West and Cozumel. Grand Cayman was a good stop. We had arranged through personal arrangements to take a scuba tour with DiveTech, Inc. We went to a wall dive and then to Stingray City. It is good that we did make these private arrangements as we were told that over 50 divers applied for the Grand Cayman diving trip arranged by the ship and that a waiting list of over twenty people had to be created. I do not know if they got to dive or not. I would have been really upset if that was part of my reason for making the cruise. We could not pre-book the dive trip via the internet, as RCCL would not respond to inquiries of where the dive trip would go. We wanted to go to Stingray City and make a wall dive. RCCL should have better communication and respond to questions over the internet if they are going to allow you to book excursions online (which they will let you do). Stingray City was really a good dive for my daughter and apparently everyone who went there whether diving or snorkeling. This port was definitely worth the effort. We had a little time to spare and had time to do a little light shopping in Georgetown. The ship put two tenders in the water and had one commercial tender in operation. Great job with these tenders, minimal wait. We were told after we boarded and the night before we arrived at Grand Cayman that the ships excursions would be tendered before anyone else. This created a few moments of discouragement as our 'tour' required first tender travel as well. It worked out that we got on the first tender after medical needs were met. Rating on a scale of 1-10. . . 8. The Saturday at sea is really needed. You relax, pack and get ready to go home. A comedian headed the farewell show up. He was very good. The ship's show was the same version as seen on the Monarch. Good energy, but boring material once you've seen it. I would not take this trip again if the ports were the same. We have been to the southern Caribbean twice and really enjoyed most of the ports. We have been in the eastern Caribbean and enjoyed most of those ports as well. However, when there are only four ports on your trip and two of them are poor at best, go elsewhere. I felt that my cruise dollar should have stretched further. The waiters and cabin attendants were all very good to excellent (except as mentioned above). This ship needs to arrange for two other ports of call (besides Key West and Costa Maya) and it may be worth the trip, but I would not waste my time or money on it again. We were with a family we had met from New Jersey the year before and we had a great time with each other. It pays to have great friends on board. As an aside, we heard that one set of table mates at dinner did not like each other and did not speak to each other all week. If that happens to you, ask the maitre de to change you to another table immediately. They will try to accommodate you if at all possible. Wherever you go, have a great trip.roser@pernet.net July 2001 Read Less
After researching all the cruise boards over the past six months before our first cruise, I thought I would give the first timers a report on how everything went. Family of four with two parents, college grad daughter (21) and HS grad son ... Read More
After researching all the cruise boards over the past six months before our first cruise, I thought I would give the first timers a report on how everything went. Family of four with two parents, college grad daughter (21) and HS grad son (18). Overall, it was a great experience and almost everything was impressive and fun. From service to entertainment the cruise line and crew did an excellent job. Boarding & Arrival We arrived on Sat in Ft Lauderdale which made the whole week start much nicer; bought two six packs of Coke to take aboard and stayed in a hotel that had pick up service from the airport and even delivered us to the port for free (tipped for both but saved on taxi fare). Got to port about 12:45 and left bags on sidewalk; was met inside the building by a very nice older gentleman who quickly checked our paperwork and we were then met by a friendly older woman who also offered to help and gave us some inside info. Then went in to get our cruise cards and that took about 10 minutes; on to the gangway (get photo) and right to our rooms. We met our children at the Windjammer for the brunch they were serving and then explored the ship. Bags were delivered at around 4 PM to our room and around 5:30 to our kids' room. Simple, easy, and relaxing since we had second seating for dinner. Cabin Parents were on 7th deck in Cat D with balcony, refrig and sofa bed. Clean, very adequate, and comfortable. Children on 2nd deck outside cabin. Both cabins had very accommodating attendants who got us ice and took care of towels and any other needs we had. Food We ate every dinner at the late seating and had breakfast lunch and snack in the Windjammer. Dinner food was very good though similar to what you would get at a large company banquet. Windjammer was buffet style with good food that was quite adequate: nothing real fancy but good. Most lunches had a carving station in addition and the waiters were always helpful. Plenty of fruit available to take back to rooms if desired. Wife and kids used room service occasionally and were quite pleased though the service staff seemed to be surprised when they received tips. The fast food in the solarium was not too good (hamburgers) as commented by our son who normally eats anything! Only attended the gala midnight buffet and had minimal food since we were stuffed from dinner. At dinner our waiter was fantastic and was more than accommodating if we asked for more than one appetizer or dessert or whatever. Waiter was Chinese and grew up in Bombay and asst. waiter was from Romania. They definitely made dinner a very enjoyable experience each night and even our kids had a great time with them. Shore excursions We did not use any of the cruise line's excursions and did things on our own. Rented a car in St Maarten to see the beaches and visit Marigot after shopping in Philipsburg. I goofed by reserving a rental prior to cruise because pickup was near the airport (had to pay taxi to/from) and would have been just as easy to rent impromptu near the dock. Visited Long Bay and Mullet Bay beaches and enjoyed both. Marigot ok but nothing spectacular. Mom and daughter went jewelry shopping in Phillipsburg. Would recommend taking the water taxis to/from downtown area from ship dock - one fare for all day. In St Thomas we spent most of the time just shopping in the downtown area. We taxied over to the Marriott beach for some relaxation on the beach. FYI: we bought a lot of jewelry for the two ladies and our best buys were in St Thomas. In Nassau we taxied to beach on Paradise Island, dropped the kids to sunbathe and swim, then my wife and I went into the Atlantis resort to relax and browse. Ate lunch on ship and then shopped downtown. Onboard Entertainment The nightly shows were actually quite good especially their stage productions on two nights. Individual acts were fun though some were a bit cheesy, but in the spirit of being on a cruise, good fun! Newlywed, etc game was quite a hit with all! Cruise director and personnel were quite good at their jobs and very personable. Bingo was worth participating and if you were lucky, the final jackpot was over $10K! (we were not, and that biggie ended up split 3 ways - still a handsome chunk) Disembarkation On Sat night the envelopes with tips can be given to staff. Bags packed and outside room by midnight - no problem. Got up Sun morning and ship was at dock already, ate breakfast and went to appointed deck to await call. Off the ship around 0930, picked up bags in large storage area (easy to find), took taxi to airport and wait for 11:30 flight home. Very simple and efficient. What we did not doWe did not gamble in casino nor eat many meals other than dinner in dining room; no RCL shore excursions; bought only one photo from RCL; not many specialty drinks; Mom and Dad did not go in pool though we sunbathed; no one got seasick or queasy; did not get bored! What would I advise: read through these internet boards to gather selected info before you go; ask friends who have been on a cruise for inside info; buy a book on cruising and your ports to read ahead of time; go in with an open attitude and prepare to have a good time; don't expect gourmet food, but know it will be quite acceptable; and don't be too nitpicky because one can always find something that's not 100% perfect all the time! What went wrong Not much since my only real complaint was that there was this distinct rumbling vibration (like I read about the Enchantment on these boards) in our 7th deck stateroom the entire trip (except in port of course). You could see the flowers I gave my wife as sendoff were constantly in motion while at sea. It was more annoying than making you feel sick. It woke me up each morning a lot earlier than I wanted to awake but I just got used to it. Did not seem to bother my wife as much. Our kids room had no such mechanical vibration so I have no idea what it was - a constant cyclic rumble about every 10 seconds which may have been air conditioner related, who knows. Was not enough to spoil anything though, just irritating having to wake up early on vacation! Overall: we really had a nice, relaxing vacation aboard the Enchantment for the week; treated like special guests and allowed to do what we wanted without pressure. Having wonderful tablemates certainly contributed to the positive outlook on our cruise; they were a very nice young couple who also were out to enjoy their week so we hit it off well, especially our children with them. Cruising is expensive so we can't do this all the time, but we did get our money's worth with RCL. I am sure we will do it again some time in the future. Good luck. Read Less
This is my second cruise and my first on RCCL. My family chose RCL because they were cheaper and had heard so many good things about them. We live in New York and the cruise was out of Fort Lauderdale and went to St. Thomas, St. Maarten ... Read More
This is my second cruise and my first on RCCL. My family chose RCL because they were cheaper and had heard so many good things about them. We live in New York and the cruise was out of Fort Lauderdale and went to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau. We sailed in the second to last week of August 2001. On the day of the cruise we flew from Kennedy Airport to Fort Lauderdale- Hollywood Airport. We arrived at the airport at about 1:00. We met the RCL agent.....well she had a sign that said EOS....we first went to the wrong one because it was the explorer of the seas.....we met the lady and she told us to sit down and fill out our forms...and she got a wheelchair for my grandmother who walks with a cane and was very tired. Filing out the forms occupied most of our time. We finished and got on a little bus. There were too man people so some of them waited for another one to come. We got to the terminal at about 1:45 p.m. When we arrived it looked like everyone was already on the ship. Embarkation was a breeze. There was no one there. We where on the ship within 15 minutes. They man helping us was so nice....but he was trying to persuade my aunt into letting me get a charge card...she kept saying no...he kept saying "u sure???"...i kept saying "please???":( ..........it was funny to me at least.) We then got on our ship and went to our stateroom on Deck 4. (Ocean View with 2 beds and 2 pullmans) We went to the lifeboat drill and it was hot and sticky and muggy... It took such a long time. When I went on the Destiny it did not take as long as this one did. While we where at the lifeboat drill, i noticed i could not spot one single kid besides my cousin and I. I panicked....We went back to the stateroom and we were looking at the t.v. when I realized the ship was moving.....They could have made an announcement, at the least. So we ran to the top deck and I got the camcorder and was filming when I realized I was in the back of the ship....Unlike Carnival it doesn't have the big smokestack to differentiate. The net two days were days at sea. My grand mother and aunt went to bingo and the casino a lot....I went to the teen club...Had lots of fun. On the second sea day, I was in the Viking Crown and we could see the lights of the Explorer of the Seas not too far off, going in the opposite direction.... that was cool. The only problem was that the first thing started at like 10:00 a.m. and each activity had and hour and half in between...The first two days it really bothered me, but after I made friends it didn't. After the two days at sea was St. Maarten.....I woke up expecting to be docked but we where in a holding dock....It was very foggy (dense fog). Had breakfast, met some friends and we went up to the Viking Crown.....We then went to an activity in the Card room....We learned that because of the bad weather, and there was a new dock they would not allow us to dock and that we had no idea how long we would be waiting....But in the distance you could see a Norwegian CL ship. We finally slowly approached the dock.....The scenery was beautiful because you could see trees and hills and mountains and beaches....as I saw the island I started yelling "I see land, I see land" Two days at sea can be real nerve wracking...I had the whole front of the ship yelling "We see land"....It was funny...until it showed up on the video on the last night of the cruise...and everyone turned around at me and was laughing.... We went into town at St. Maarten..not a long taxi ride.....I personally did not like it...The island seemed sleepy and dingy and poor..I guess cause it was raining......We bought some alcohol, magnets and keychains and quickly went back to the ship..... The next day was St. Thomas THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE.....We got off the ship at about 1 p.m. to go to our excursion...little did we know there was a shopping plaza within walking distance of the ship...We went on our excursion which was touring St. Thomas....I really liked it. U got to see wild donkeys and chickens and the homes. We came back and bought jewelry at the markets......and some alcohol again (remind you this was the time when you just showed your sail and sign card...without id and scanning of bags) We boarded the ship at last moment.... The next day was at sea. After that was Nassau.....We got off because we wanted to go snorkeling....We got off and waited about an hour for the guy to come pick us up....My grandmother didn't go...she got off to get a straw hat...but quickly got back on because they were attacking her....but she got her hat :)....We went snorkeling at Stingray City. It was really fun...you got to feed the stingrays with Squid and pet them....My cousin got stung..it was minor he didn't realize it until we were on the plane ride home.... We went shopping at the little street mall of carts...Be aware that they will attack you......We got back on and watched the sail away......While were at Nassau the Majesty of the Seas and a Carnival ship was there...While we where at St. Thomas and Norwegian ship was anchored...and had to be tendered to port....also was the Carnival Paradise. On Embarkation day...We woke up early and got our luggage tags...ate breakfast.....and it took us along time to get off the ship.Complaints- On the first day my grandmothers luggage got lost and was delivered after dinner, while everyone's else's was in their stateroom...... Food was good....We had a table of 8 with my aunt's co-worker, her husband and twin girls.....I personally liked the food at the pizza station better.......baked Alaska and cherries jubilee was superb. On the last night they go around dancing and singing...it was great!!!! The ship was nice....this year were doing Western Caribbean on the Voyager on 8/25/02, I hope next year we can do Carnival Legend from New York.............I still like Carnival better because it has a more party atmosphere and RCL is more elegant....the kids like Carnival and the parents liked RCL better but I do recommend RCL.July 2002 Read Less
Enchantment Of the Seas 12/08/02 Eastern Itinerary 2 Adults, No kids Saturday (Day Before): We flew into Fort Lauderdale the Saturday night before our cruise. I bid $55 on Priceline and lucked into the Embassy Suites hotel. It's a ... Read More
Enchantment Of the Seas 12/08/02 Eastern Itinerary 2 Adults, No kids Saturday (Day Before): We flew into Fort Lauderdale the Saturday night before our cruise. I bid $55 on Priceline and lucked into the Embassy Suites hotel. It's a beautiful hotel! We walked over to a Tex-Mex restaurant next door to the hotel to eat. Ironic, since we're from Texas and all, but it turned out to be a pretty decent meal! There is also an Outback next door, but the wait seemed to be pretty long. Go ahead, slam us... but we also walked across the street to the liquor store and bought a bottle of Skyy Vodka and then stopped at the Publix for a 12 pack of Mtn. Dew and 12 pack of Dr. Pepper as well as a couple of bottles of water. I know so many people bad mouth those who bring on their own drinks, but I'm glad we did, as there was no Mtn. Dew nor Dr. Pepper on the ship. And being as we were in the height of the Norwalk Virus hysteria, I wanted a couple of bottles of water I could keep in my bag, not knowing how long it would take us to get in to our cabin. Embarkation Day: We woke up pretty early Sunday morning. Who can sleep? We're going on a cruise! The hotel has a free shuttle to take you to the port but the first available spot for us was 1:15. After waiting 8 l-o-n-g months there was no way I was waiting until 1:15 to see the ship! We loaded up our stuff in a cab and took the short - and cheap -- ride to the Port about 10:15. Honestly, the terminal where Enchantment was docked was chaos. All the people on the cruise before us were there, trying to get cabs, busses, etc. We just wanted on! We parked our extensive luggage collection outside the big warehouse area with another couple who were on the same cruise as us. We tipped a porter who told us he would make sure it got inside. Then we started thinking that wasn't such a good idea so the men stayed behind to watch the luggage while my new friend and I went inside. I headed for the suite line since we had a Cat. C - which I guess is still considered a mini-suite on Enchantment. About 11 am, RCI reps started going around checking cruise documents. About 11:30 they opened the X-ray machines up and we headed in. After taking our 1st picture (the first of many I was soon to learn) we walked up to the window. The woman congratulated us for filling out the embarkation forms on-line. She just had us sign them and after giving her our credit card # we were on our way! Finally, We're On Board! We were so surprised at how beautiful the Centrum area was. It was decorated for Christmas and there was a little jazz combo playing. Not really sure what to do next, we got on an elevator and just kind of followed some other people out to the pool area. Everyone kept saying our cabin wouldn't be ready yet, but the curiosity was killing me so I went to go see for myself. And I'm glad I did. It was ready! Our Cabin: We had cabin #8034... mid-ship, port side with a balcony. Yes, the first timers splurged. Now, I guess we'll ALWAYS have to have a balcony! I was stunned at the amount of space there was. I had brought one of those over the door shoe hanger thingies. It was handy, but we could have done without it. There were two "medicine" type cabinets in the bathroom with shelves. There was a set of drawers and some cubbyholes across the hall from the closet. The closet was huge, and had another set of drawers inside of it. There were two sets of drawers on either side of a lighted desk/vanity area, as well as another set of shelves with doors. There were also drawers in the nightstands on either side of the bed. Our cabin steward Perfecto came in and introduced himself... explained how he would be coming in twice a day and showed us how to use the safe and the little "do not disturb" card in the door. He had stacked up some soft drinks and pricy bottled water on the shelf by our refrigerator, but had left it empty inside which was perfect for us, since we had brought our own drinks. Perfecto kept our ice bucket full of fresh ice day and night. I had read many complaints on the message boards about the fridge not keeping stuff cold. We must have been lucky because ours was very cold! I must confess, when I sat down on the bed that day, I thought it was kind of hard. But I guess we were so tired every night we never noticed it. Although our cabin was under the pool area, we never heard any sound that kept us awake. There was the occasional deck chair being moved but that was during the day. Just a little ways down the hall, you could hear the bubbling of the hot tubs above. I thought it was kind of weird that was just about where the "suites" were. I don't know if you could hear it in the cabins themselves, but it was loud in the hall. The Food: After unpacking, we walked around the ship for a while, finally making our way to the Windjammer. We had a really nice lunch. I stuck to salad, but John had a little bit of everything. We ate at the Windjammer several times during our cruise for breakfast. The few times we ate lunch, we got pizza or hamburgers from the Solarium Grill. We had late seating for dinner. I initially thought we'd want more time in the ports, so that's why I chose that dinnertime. In retrospect, we were always on the ship well before departure time, so we could have easily eaten early. In fact, I kind of wished we had. By the time we finished dinner each night, we were so tired we only wanted to go to bed! Our table in the Our Fair Lady dining room was on the first floor, right in front of the piano. It was funny, it seemed like a place of honor! Our waiter was Wally from Thailand and our assistant waiter was this incredibly sweet girl named Lucy. Our tablemates included a group of 4 women from Wisconsin and a couple from Los Angeles. 2 of the Wisconsin women were so seasick though, we didn't even see them until the last few nights of the cruise. The food was really good. I wouldn't say it was great, but it was wonderful to have such a variety of choices... and of course it was food we don't eat every night. Hands down I think everyone's favorite was the Filet Mignon. I also enjoyed the soups they had every night. On lobster night my fiancE ordered a NY Strip with his lobster and thought he was a king! The desert not to be missed was the Royal Chocolate cake. Make sure you get a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it. It was amazing! We didn't really have a meal served in room service. The first full day (sea day) we ordered a couple of pieces of pie to the room... we also ordered orange juice and tomato juice in the mornings to enjoy with our vodka on the balcony. Some of our tablemates did say they ordered breakfast, and it arrived on time and was very good. The night of the midnight chocolate buffet we fixed our plates in the dining room then headed back to our cabin and ordered in two cartons of milk. We needed it with all that chocolate! The Ports: Our first stop was Puerto Rico. We took the Bacardi Rum Tour. I totally would not recommend it. We ended up standing in a hot, crowded terminal at the dock forever. Then our guides seemed to be confused about which bus to put us on. Then we took a long drive to the Bacardi factory. After touring wineries in Napa Valley, we thought we'd get to see how rum was made. Not so. You first sit in a covered area drinking your two complimentary rum drinks, waiting for them to call your group. You get on a tram that takes you to the distillery where there are some bottles set up in little display cases. A man comes in and tells you about all of the different kinds of liquor Bacardi makes, then takes you down something like 5 flights of stairs. They begrudging let some older people in our group use the elevator. Another man pointed to some photos showing how the rum is made, then you get back on the tram to go to a museum of sorts with lots of old photos. Then you walk out of the museum room by way of the bottling area. The day we were there, there was no bottling going on. Just people standing around. Then back to the covered area to wait for your group to be called to board the bus. Not impressive at all! And by the way, fermenting rum kind of stinks! (In my humble opinion of course.) If you're stopping in Puerto Rico, take a trip to the Fort or something. Next stop was St. Maarten. Enchantment and a Carnival ship docked, while the NCL ship tendered in. There's a really nice new dock in St. Maarten, but it's a long walk. You actually take water taxis to get to St. Phillipsburg proper. Once arriving in St. Phillipsburg, we were assaulted by timeshare salespeople and taxi cab drivers. Just be prepared with a "no thanks" and keep going! We walked around the town, bought a few t-shirts and some jewelry and headed back to the ship. In retrospect, I wish we had been brave enough to rent a cab and head over to the other side of the island. I think being new to the whole thing, we were a little anxious just going off on our own. Now, I wouldn't hesitate to do that. We had lunch on the ship then went back to pick up a ring we had sized. It wasn't ready yet, so we stopped in at Every'ting Cool for a drink. That is a great place! It wasn't very sunny, so we opted to pass on the beach, but you can rent a couple of chairs and an umbrella for $10. Drinks were about $6 but they were huge frozen things... much bigger than you could get on the ship. If you're looking for a no frills beach excursion, this one definitely fits the bill. There are changing rooms, lockers, restrooms, jet skis, banana boat rides and the whole beach scene... and it's all just a short walk from where the water taxis let you off. The next morning we woke up at 6:45 to clear customs for St. Thomas. Stupid procedure but well worth it. St. Thomas was by far our favorite stop. We took a ship-excursion on a catamaran out to Buck Island to snorkel. Just the sail on the catamaran was amazing and the snorkeling was wonderful. The tour ended about 1 pm and so we headed back to the ship to change and eat, then went back out to shop and sightsee. I know we will return to St. Thomas for a vacation sometime soon. Last stop, Nassau. We watched them unload an elderly woman into an ambulance from our ship. We have no idea what was wrong with her. They took her luggage too, so I guess she didn't return. Since they wanted to get her off first, we didn't get to get off the ship until 11:45. We first explored the shops and such near the straw market. We took our purchases back to the ship and ate lunch, then headed over to Paradise Island. We asked about taking a water taxi and the RCI person on the dock said we'd be better in a taxi. So we paid $4 per person and went to Atlantis. The place is monstrous and beautiful. We opted to pass on paying the extra fee to take the "tour," and instead just saw how far we could get on our own. We saw most of the hotel, played in the casino and had a cocktail in a cute little bar. Atlantis just about takes over Paradise Island. Since it was so overcast, we didn't even try to go out on the beach, but it was right there between Comfort Suites and Atlantis. There were beach chairs for rent as well as the usual beach amenities. Packing Up and Disembarking: Fortunately, I heeded the advice someone on the message board gave me and took along a practically empty suitcase. We needed it when it came time to pack up our stuff! We packed most of our stuff up before dinner that night - the last formal night. Before dinner we headed over to the casino for about an hour. Since we won big on Roulette, we decided to splurge with a bottle of wine at dinner! Lovely way to spend our last night. We handed out our envelopes and said our goodbyes. I was so saddened to see so many empty seats in the dining room that night. In fact, the Wisconsin 4some at our table didn't even show up. I hope they did in some way manage to tip our wonderful waiters. I've read about people not eating in the dining room the final night to avoid dealing with the tip issue. That is so tacky. That night it was pretty loud in the hallways, as the crew came by and collected luggage. It finally quieted down about 1 am. The next morning we were up by 6:45 (that time change got us!). Since we had 11:30 am flights, we were in the 2nd group called to leave the ship. It was actually a little anti-climatic I thought. We got a cab really quickly and were on our way to the airport all in less than 30 minutes. A Few Extra Tidbits: The first day on the ship, we took a brief spa tour. If you book your spa appointments after the tour, they threw in a little extra something for free. I had a heavenly seaweed wrap and massage. John had a facial and mini-massage. We both loved our treatments. After adding in the tip, our spa bill was $320. It was a great way to start our cruise. Although the spa ran specials throughout the cruise, none of them included the treatments we had, so we had no regrets. We had a little situation with the blow dryer. I had brought my own, as well as my curling iron and an extension cord. I plugged the extension cord in on the plug in the vanity area and turned on my curling iron to heat up. I also plugged in my blow dryer to begin drying my hair. A few minutes later the smoke alarm went off in our cabin! Needless to say, I put my extension cord and blow dryer away, and for the rest of the cruise I used only "their" dryer. It took a little longer to dry my hair but there were no more smoke alarm scares! We only saw one night of entertainment... a juggler who was pretty funny and a stand-up comic who was not funny. We also did TV trivia one night before dinner. We teamed up with two couples from New York and came in 2nd place! We'll covet our lovely Royal Caribbean key chains! I think the whole late seating thing threw off our time clocks and we just couldn't stay up late after dinner. Next cruise we'll definitely do early seating to gauge the difference. Our Impressions: We loved our ship and are so glad we chose RCI and Enchantment for our first. We were so shocked with the captain told us you could fit two Enchantments inside the Voyager! Enchantment was a perfect size for us. Our cabin was in a perfect spot... giving us the opportunity to take the stairs quite often. The crew was so friendly and attended to our every need. I've got to admit though, we ran into some not so friendly passengers. Many senior citizens who didn't mind running you over to get to their table, elevator, deck chair, whatever without so much as an "excuse me." Maybe that's just the Southerner in me. Maybe it was the time of the year. I know we'll take another cruise eventually. Maybe we'll try another cruise line or maybe we'll start making our way up the Crown and Anchor ladder and stick with RCI or Celebrity. But I know no future trip will ever compare with our first one. annreeder1@yahoo.com March 2003 Read Less
Pre-Cruise The bus trip from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale should go down in history as the bus ride from Hell. The bus pulled in to Ft. Myers 1 ½ hours late, and between the mosquitoes, the heat and the humidity everyone became ... Read More
Pre-Cruise The bus trip from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale should go down in history as the bus ride from Hell. The bus pulled in to Ft. Myers 1 ½ hours late, and between the mosquitoes, the heat and the humidity everyone became somewhat short-tempered. We took off for our next pickup point (although no passengers were there) at Naples, Florida, only 30 minutes away, and stayed for a half hour because it was a scheduled rest stop. Finally, off to the East Coast to catch the boat. We were within five minutes from Port Everglades in Lauderdale when our bus driver, suddenly and without announcement, decided to veer south on US 95 to the Miami docks at Dodge Island. Another hour was shot while we searched for the proper berth and unloaded passengers. Finally we reached the docks in Ft. Lauderdale, where our bus driver seemed incapable of following the plainly marked directions to berth 18 where the Enchantment was docked. He made numerous U-turns in the middle of traffic, and many of us thought he would just walk off the bus and abandon the passengers to their own devices. Our driver dumped our baggage off at the curb, where stevedores (paid $24/hr.) would not load our baggage without a tip. We decided the cruise would be great, since anything that could happen to us from here on in would be an improvement. Embarkation: This was very impressive. Not only were there enough people at the sign-up desks, but they were pleasant, multilingual and helpful. Accommodations We were two adults and two children (15 and 11) with adjoining cabins. Everything was clean, and the steward was well trained and professional. Food Meals were attractively served, and overall food quality was good. The head chef was Austrian, however, and his attempts at jambalaya and lobster tail fell short of the rest of the offerings. No particular meal was outstanding, although everything was good. Nobody could have gone hungry on this cruise. The pastry offerings were excellent, but that's the Austrian influence again. Food service was skilled, unobtrusive and masterfully professional. Ports of Call We stopped at St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau. While these ports of themselves are unimpressive to the seasoned traveler, the kids enjoyed themselves. Since this was a vacation to mark the end of summer and the imminent start of school, we felt that if the kids were happy, we were happy. Shore Excursions We rented cars instead of taking the tours. The tours seemed overpriced for what they provided and we were able to duplicate the tours offered for a fraction of the price and we were able to proceed at our own pace. For one or two people, perhaps the shore excursion is the way to go, but with four or more, definitely consider renting a car or hiring a taxi with guide for the day. Entertainment Surprisingly good, and much better than we expected. It wasn't Las Vegas, but only Las Vegas is Las Vegas, except if it's New York. Passengers International assortment of high caliber people, and every one we met was considerate and great company, reminding us that the art of conversation was not dead. Overall This was a cruise well worth the money for a week of fun in the sun. Definitely superior to comparable Carnival Line cruises, and we definitely would elect to cruise with Royal Caribbean again.velvela@aol.comAugust 2001 Read Less
My daughter and I sailed on the Enchantment of the Seas is Aug. 2002. It was our first cruise on the Enchantment but our 7th cruise with Royal Caribbean. You just can't beat their service and value for your vacation dollar. ... Read More
My daughter and I sailed on the Enchantment of the Seas is Aug. 2002. It was our first cruise on the Enchantment but our 7th cruise with Royal Caribbean. You just can't beat their service and value for your vacation dollar. Pre-cruise We rented a car and drove down from Georgia the day before. A 7+ hour drive, due to heavy rainstorms and lots of traffic on I-95. It was my hope to stay in a hotel that would allow me to see the ships in port. We got a great rate online for the Marriott Marina. I had heard many good things about Embassy Suites, and it did look nice, but I was pleased that I chose Marriott. This hotel is located directly on the intercoastal waterway, the port was just beyond the bridge. I woke up early (around 6am) and sure enough, there they were. It was just beginning to get light and three ships (all lit up like Christmas trees) were easily visible from my balcony on the 9th floor as they sailed in from the Atlantic. I had called the hotel a few days before with my request of a view of the port, and they were more than happy to comply. Embarkation Couldn't have been easier. We arrived at the terminal early and were directed to an area to sit and wait to be called. We noticed a sign that said that Crown & Anchor members (Platinum and Diamond level) would have priority boarding (how nice)! so we went to sit in that area. A RCCL rep came by checked our tickets, id, and the online embarkation forms that we filled out beforehand. He has just returned from his vacation on the Enchantment and couldn't say enough good things about it. After a short delay due to a metal detector malfunction we were checked in (the agent was thrilled with the online embarkation form) had our picture taken and were onboard walking around shortly after 11am. The Ship Absolutely beautiful. The Centrum is spectacular, all glass and sunlight. Very tastefully appointed. Our cabin was located on level 2, aft. No problems with noise or vibration. Snug but well laid out. Plenty of storage space. No problem even with two girls who brought enough clothes for a month. Hair dryer and safe provided. Food & Dining Room Service My Fair Lady Dining Room is very impressive with dark wood and large windows. Wonderful service (as I have come to expect nothing less with RCCL). Our waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter went above the call of duty to make every meal a memorable one. I was particularly pleased that they requested no hats, tank tops and sleeveless T's at any time (although I presume this was directed primarily at the men, I wore a blouse over my halter tops during breakfast and lunch). And no shorts at night. They also requested that you wear a bathing suit cover-up even in the Windjammer cafe. If you want to dress that casually there are plenty of other dining options available to you. Food was excellent as always. Our waiter had no problem bringing 2nd entrees to anyone that requested it. If fact, I think he was rather surprised when I told him one lobster tail would be enough for me! Entertainment A nice mix of Broadway style production shows and singers, comedians, juggling acts, magicians and The Nelsons (yes, Ricky Nelson's twin sons) who would have made their daddy proud. Very impressed with cruise director Marc Walker. Very funny, energetic British fellow who seemed to be everywhere, all the time. Don't miss the "Village People" and "Shippendales" ladies! He also did a fabulous job with "Love & Marriage" (game similar to the "Newlywed Game") always a lot of laughs. Cruise director and staff seemed to be very proud of the Enchantment's reputation of being the friendliest ship in the fleet. I am inclined to agree. Ports of Call San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas and Nassau. Loved Old San Juan, enjoyed walking the narrow streets. Very friendly people, and courteous drivers. Easy walking distance from pier. Waking up to see St. Martin with it's mountains, turquoise water and white beaches was quite breathtaking. St. Thomas might have been even more beautiful. Great shopping in both St. Martin and St. Thomas. Wished I had bought my liquor in St. Thomas, your customs allowance in much greater on liquor bought there. Live and learn. Got a taxi and went to Sapphire beach in St. Thomas. About $8 per person. Beautiful beach and resort that welcomes cruise ship passengers. Bathroom, bar, restaurant, and any kind of water sport equipment available for a very reasonable charge. Went snorkeling right off the beach ($5 an hour for fins and mask) and saw as many fish as I've seen in the keys or the Bahamas. Spectacular! Disembarkation We really enjoyed our many extra perks of being Platinum Crown & Anchor members. We were given priority boarding, coupons, complimentary robes for our use onboard and two parties just for Crown and Anchor members. We were allowed to wait to disembark the ship in the Crown & Anchor study until our colored tags were called. Disembarkation seemed well organized and went smoothly. Final thoughts A wonderful cruise experience. Beautiful ship, enchanting ports of call, and a top notch staff that attends to your every want and need. Highly recommended.Charmie17@aol.comSeptember 2002 Read Less
December 17th -24th 2000 Overview: I booked this cruise over a year ago. We decided to go with a group of friends so there were quite a few of us (36 in all). We knew four of the families and then I booked 4 additional families ... Read More
December 17th -24th 2000 Overview: I booked this cruise over a year ago. We decided to go with a group of friends so there were quite a few of us (36 in all). We knew four of the families and then I booked 4 additional families through postings on the Internet. This was our second cruise (first was Monarch of the Seas in 5/00). It was the first cruise for our kids, 2 boys ages 9 and 12. Overall we had a great time in spite of bad weather and disappointment of a missed port. Pre cruise: We flew from Philadelphia to Ft. Lauderdale non-stop the day before the cruise. We stayed at the Marriott's Spring Hill Suite Hotel. The rooms were $80 per night and included transportation from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the pier. One note though you need to sign up for transportation to the pier at the front desk. So if there is a specific time you wish to go to the pier make sure you sign up when you check in to the hotel. (we recommend you get on the ship as soon as possible). The hotel itself was very nice for the price. There was a small pool and it was close to shopping, the airport and the port. Our group had lot of friends and family in the Ft. Lauderdale area and a member of our group suggested instead of going out to dinner, we host a party at our hotel . The hotel manager let us use the breakfast room to serve dinner. We ordered chicken and ribs from Tony Roma's. It turned out to be a wonderful relaxing evening a great start to a wonderful week. Day 1 Fort Lauderdale: We took the 10:30 am shuttle to the port. When we arrived at port I was surprised to see another RCCL ship across from the Enchantment. Apparently the Sovereign of the Seas had lost all power and could not make it back to her home port and was towed to Port Everglades. Processing was quick and easy and we were on board by 11:30 am. Our cabin was not quite ready but we were able to leave our carry ons in the closet while we went to explore the ship. Enchantment really is a beautiful ship. (Nicer physically than the Monarch.) There are lots of windows, artwork and woodwork. We went and checked out the kids area and sign our kids up for the kids program. We had our walkie talkies with us and one of our boys without our knowing it lost one in the ball pit. Later, when he finally told us he had lost it, we went back to the kids area and the kids had fun diving into the pit of ball in search of our walkie talkie. Thank goodness it was turned on or we may never have found it! We then went to the pool bar and got the kids coke cards. That was by far the best deal of the cruise. The total was $24.50 (including 15% tip) for each card. The card allowed the kids to get as many fountain drinks as they wanted throughout the week. This included Shirley Temples. Needless to say they had a blast walking up to any bar on the ship and ordering "a drink." After getting the coke cards and drinks for the parents we went to the Windjammer for lunch. There was always a decent selection of sandwiches, hot entree, salads and deserts. They always had lemonade, fruit punch, iced tea and hot coffee available. The food was buffet quality, some of the salads were interesting but nothing truly notable. After lunch we continued our tour of the ship. The Viking Crown lounge was definitely our favorite. Great view, nice decor and usually quiet up until the disco opened around 10:30 p.m. The pool was very nice a section was cordoned off for small kids and there was plenty of room. There are 4 whirlpools and you could always find room to squeeze in. The Solarium pool was beautiful! The lounges were a bit nicer and the atmosphere a bit subdued. A great area for adults to get away. The one thing we could not figure out, if the Solarium is for adults only why put the pizza, hot dog and hamburger stand inside the Solarium? After lunch we went back to our cabin to unpack. We were in cabin #7048 a category D balcony. There was a sofa bed for the kids and a queen bed for us. The cabin is nicely laid out with lot of nooks and crannies to store things. The closet and drawers were sufficient to store all our things even though I had seriously over packed. The balcony had 3 chairs and a small table. Before we left there was much discussion as to whether you could open up the partitions between the balconies. The answer is yes but if you run into the high seas we did you may not want to (more about that later). Dinner the first night was casual. We had 20 people in our group of friends. Ten adults and 10 boys. We had 2 tables right next to each other. We put the kids at one and the adults at the other. The kids waiter John was unbelievable. He had them served and off to the kids program by 7pm. Royal Caribbean has a nice kids menu with plenty of choices. Of course our youngest ate mostly hamburgers, pizza and chicken nuggets. Our oldest enjoyed both the kids menu and the adults menu. Many times he ordered from both menus. John even cut his steak! One of the nice things about RCCL's menu is that every night they offer a la cart entrees like steak or chicken in addition to their regular choices. This meant that if my son who loved steak could not find anything on the adult menu he could almost always have a steak. Our waiter Leslie was also very good but not as attentive as John. I am allergic to rosemary (a favorite of RCCL chefs). It took Leslie a few nights to figure out that if the potatoes were garnished with rosemary I could not eat it. In contrast on the Monarch I only had to tell our waiter once and then he would make sure that everything I ordered did not contain rosemary. The show the first night was kind of boring. The entertainer Jan Downs who did impressions was okay. The only impression she should stay away from is herself. Off to bed we had a big day planned for Key West. Around 10:30pm we heard a loud noise outside our balcony. A Helicopter was hover right next to us. Unfortunately a passenger had taken seriously ill and needed to be airlifted off. It was quite an impressive site. First they lowered a man on to our ship and then a basket. They then pulled the basket on to the helicopter. We thought they would soon take off but apparently that was the ill persons family. They then lowered a stretcher and lifted the passenger onto the helicopter and finally the coast guard person was hoisted back on to the helicopter. The whole operation took about a half hour all the time while we were still moving. It was very impressive. We all noted that the passenger was lucky he was still in US waters. Day 2 Key West: Thanks to the Millennium (a Celebrity cruise liner), the Enchantment now tenders into Key West. We had booked our own kayak excursion and were concerned that we would not get into port on time. We were told we should get down to deck one by 7:45 so we could sneak on to the first tender. It turned out that it was not a problem and they very graciously let us on the first tender even though we did not have tickets (they were reserved for the ship's excursions). It was obvious that they had not tendered into Key West before because they had trouble finding the dock. Even with the mistakes we were at the dock by 8:15 and met Angela from Island Kayak http://islandkayakkeywest.com/tours.htm Angela drove us to the Fairfield Inn where the kayaks were ready to go. After some brief instructions we set out for a wonderful 3 ½ hour tour. My husband and older son each had their own kayak. I was with our 9 year old. We set off across a bay with strong winds against us. Once we cleared the area it was much easier to paddle. Angela showed us lots of neat things. We saw jelly fish, many birds, flowers and fish. She took us through mangrove trees and at times it was so narrow we had to take apart our paddle in order to maneuver through. My son and I kind of fought each other as we paddled and got stuck in the mud a lot. Needless to say my husband got a lot of good laughs out of our trip. In the end I was exhausted and needed to be towed for a while. I would absolutely recommend this excursion. We passed the ships excursion and there were a lot of people in their group. With Angela it was just our family of four. After we were done we changed our clothes and Angela drove us to the Southernmost point of the United States for photos and then dropped us off in town for some shopping. We bought some color changing T-shirts at Del Sol and headed back to the ship. Key West is definitely a place we would like to spend more time. The ship's itinerary was questionable, however. We needed to get back to the ship by 2:15, which precludes you from really exploring the island. In general, we thought the times on the Monarch were much better: even though it had many more stops at ports, the length of time available in each port was much better. Dinner that night was formal. We went early to get a nice family portrait. When we were on the Monarch in May we did the Wine and Dine Program. This time we just ordered wine by the bottle. Since we were with a group we ordered a bottle of red and white each night and just took turns ordering. The show tonight was Herb Reed and the Platters. We had seen then on the Monarch and were again impressed with their show. It was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time. Day 3 Cozumel: This is what we had been waiting for, snorkeling. We took everyone's recommendation and went to Chankanaab National Park. The park was wonderful lots of lounge chairs and easy access to snorkeling. The park charges $10 admission (per person) and the cab ride cost $10. each way (everything in Cozumel is negotiated in US$). Since this was the kids first time. We started out from the kids lagoon which was accessible from the beach. After we snorkeled for a bit I saw a man with a professional looking camera. He asked me if I wanted my picture taken I said not of me but my kids. He took a fantastic picture of our kids surrounded by fish. Little did we know at the time but this would be their one and only time snorkeling on the trip. We did get stung several times by sea lice (little baby jelly fish). It was not too painful but a little unnerving. After about an hour and a half of snorkeling I told my son that I was getting tired but in fact I had a looked around and noticed that the water was getting rough and the sky was turning dark. I didn't want him to panic. We headed for shore just at the waves started crashing. At the park there are rock steps at the edge of the beach to get in and out of the water. We really got banged around a bit getting out. I would love to go back someday. We loved the snorkeling, there were tons of fish and coral even though the water was rough. It must be beautiful when it is calm. We changed and had a nice lunch at the park walked around a bit then headed into town for some shopping. The park includes a very nice archeological exhibit as well as a fern trail. We did both in 60 - 90 minutes. There is also dolphin swims, a viewing reef and restaurants / concessions (including a place to purchase the underwater picture (which we did for $8 each). I bought 3 copies and they gave me the negative. Cozumel had the best shopping of our trip. My son wanted an onyx chess set and we set out to find one. When he finally spotted one that caught his eye. we started bargaining. It started out at $60 when we said it was for our son the price steadily lowered to $35. I whispered to my son that we would say were are going to think about it. As soon as we started to leave the store the clerk immediately say $25. Of course we bought it. After we left the store my son had a shocked look on his face and said he was concerned that we had cheated them. After we explained that this is the way you shop in Cozumel he wondered if he could shop this way at home! We bought a few other things and headed back to the ship. We missed dinner and ate at the Windjammer. I had noticed that on the menu in the dining room they were having jerk flank steak. I had had it on the Monarch and really enjoyed it. I decided to skip Windjammer and eat in our cabin. In our cabin they had the dining room menu available for room service so I ordered my jerk flank steak and ate while watching a movie. Room service was relatively quick and the food was still hot. They served the flank steak with mashed yams that were laced with the jerk seasoning. Needless to say there was none left. Most of our group did not want to go to the show so they stayed in the card room and played games while we went to the show. This night it was time for the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers to shine. The productions was called Sweet Dreams. It was wonderful. The lead male singer was fabulous and the production was well done. After the show we went back to check on everyone only to find out that our oldest son had gotten a little queasy (sea sick). Our friends gave him some bonine and he was doing much better. We called it a night and hoped for calmer seas tomorrow our first day at sea. Now on to the discussion about balcony partitions. There was nothing to keep the partition open and all night long it banged against the cabin wall. The chairs were not heavy enough to keep it from moving. It made so much noise, we had to call the Purser's desk and have someone re-latch the balcony. That was the end of our wide open balconies! To the ship's credit, they came out at midnight to fix the partitions. We did not want to go through another night of constant banging. Day 4 Day at Sea: Today was wonderful. Even though it was almost too windy to read a book on deck and there was no sun we had a great time. We ate a leisurely breakfast in the dining room. They have great lox and bagels! We did a little shopping the stores on the ship. Ate some more, lounged wasted a day and loved it! A member of our group had arranged for all of us to tour the bridge. Frank one of the first officers gave us a wonderful tour. It really is amazing the technology they have available. We weren't allowed in the engine room but Frank showed us the camera view of it. There was no charge for a Bridge tour just ask at the Purser's desk. Soon it was time for dinner. Tonight was the Captain's Favorites I wish I had gotten a menu because I can't remember what was served. By now we had learned not to take our waiters suggestions. Any steak we had was wonderful. I usually ordered two appetizers. The salads were always good and deserts are my favorite. I had a Grand Marnier SoufflE that was wonderful. Tonight's show was fantastic. Today we insisted the kids join us and they were not disappointed. La Raf was performing. They are magicians and illusionists. There was lots of pomp and circumstance. They even did one trick in the middle of the audience. It was the one where they tie one of them up and put him in a locked box lift a curtain and change places. They did it really fast. We were all in awe. Off to bed we think we have a day in Grand Cayman planned! Day 5 Grand Cayman (not really): We get up early so we can get on the first tender. We are scheduled to meet a representative from Captain Marvin for their See and Sea tour. After we wake up we wonder why we are still moving. Shouldn't we be anchored? We head out for a quick breakfast in the Windjammer. After breakfast we get our things together to meet our group in the card room. Our cabin steward suggests that we might not be going to Grand Cayman but we would have to wait for the Captains announcement. Well here comes the disappointment of the week! The Captain announces that because of the bad weather the government of Grand Cayman has closed the port. The option of their other port is also not available as the seas are just too high. Everyone took it in stride. The staff quickly put together a revised day at sea program. I headed out for a second breakfast (hadn't yet had Eggs Benedict). The kids headed up to the kids program to see what they had planned for the day. We all saw movies. I saw Keeping The Faith and my husband and kids saw Mission Impossible II. We played more bingo and overall had a wonderful relaxing day. Tonight was the first night of Hanukkah. They were surprised how many people showed up for the candle lighting service. They had a Rabbi from the Washington DC area who was very nice. They even had gelt and dreidels for the kids as well as potato latkes. The entertainment that evening was the Wave Review Production of Flashback featuring Roloff. Yet again another enjoyable and entertaining show. Later that night they had the Newlywed-not so Newlywed Game. Not to be missed. We could not stop laughing and we were very glad we were not up there. Side note: Reasons not to complain about missing a port: Someone else always has it worse. We heard about a couple that were scheduled to get married in Grand Cayman. Their family was waiting for them on the island. They were married in Jamaica instead. Also another family was taking their second Western Caribbean cruise unfortunately for them this was the second time they missed Grand Cayman. I think I'll fly there next time I want to visit. Day 6 Ocho Rios: Our entire group decided to do a tour of Ocho Rios with Peat Taylor. Peat had come highly recommended by many posters in www.cruisecritic.com. As promised he met us a the pier. There were 36 of us in all and he had 2 busses. The other driver Trev was also very nice and he kept telling us no problem what every you want. We headed out to Dunn's River Falls to beat the crowd. Even though the weather wasn't the best it was a blast climbing the falls. Our guide was very nice. I didn't think I could climb the falls. I had fallen a few years ago and ruined both my ankles. After about half way I decided to give it a try. Thanks to our guide I was able to climb it just fine. It was quite a blast. The kids wanted to do it again. After reading some of the posts, we were a little concerned regarding safety and theft. This was no problem at all -- you should feel comfortable in just being a tourist in Jamaica. We headed back to the busses and Peat and Trev took us on a ride to Fern Gully. We stopped for a bit while Peat pointed out some of the native plants. Afterwards we decided to head into town for some shopping. They left us off next to Sonies Plaza. The shops were okay nothing great. We went into the market place across the street for some wood carvings. The merchants were very aggressive and our kids were a bit intimidated. Once we explained that this was just their culture they started to enjoy the bargaining atmosphere. We had lunch at he Mango Cafe next to Sonies Plaza I had a wonderful Jerk Chicken the kids had pizza (which was excellent). We thought about heading to the beach but the weather didn't cooperate so we just headed back to the ship. Since we weren't in Peat's bus but I was the one that had made the arrangements through Peat he called and asked how we liked his tour. I would definitely recommend using Peat Taylor. They were very flexible and determined to make sure we had a wonderful time in Jamaica. You can reach Peat at 876-975-0028 or fax him at 876-975-0208. In our opinion, Jamaica is not a world class port stop -- its a very poor country as was clearly evident when we drove around. Some of the local art / crafts were interesting (the kids got some wood carvings), but really, after Dunn's River Falls, there's not much to do there. Dinner tonight was again formal. They served lobster tails and Filet Mignon. Both were outstanding. The appetizer of choice tonight was Escargot. They were the best I ever had! The desert was also notable. The Enchantment of the Seas cake, chocolate with hazelnut a real delight! The headliners The Diamonds could not get on the ship in Grand Cayman so they had a holiday show (we skipped it). I ended up a little queasy I'm not sure if it was the rough seas, 12 escargot, or 4 glasses of wine. Unfortunately I missed the men in our group doing Karaoke. Day 7 Last day at Sea: Today was the day of the big bingo jackpot. $10,312! Another $30 down the drain but the kids had fun. I had been packing our bags through out the week so I didn't miss much. We went shopping again and got some nice T-shirts 2 Seiko watches (great watch sale). We got our tips together and headed out to the pool for a swim. It was cloudy all week so none of us had a tan. The bright side is that we saved years of wrinkles from our skin! There is always a bright side. Our kids caught the end of the Farewell show and then made sure they saw it in the cabin later. The staff was wonderful. Before dinner, we arranged a group photo shot which turned out really well. Also, we posed for yet another family photo -- we bought champagne from the champagne bar downstairs as we waited in line -- photos in luxury. Dinner was great as usual. We over tipped our waiters and assistant waiters. Our group met in the Viking Crown Lounge for one last drink together. I bought the RCCL Drink book, it makes a very nice souvenir it was $9.95 and included a drink. Day 8 Debarkation: We ate a nice breakfast in the dining room and got our things together and headed for the Centrum to wait for our tags to be called. Baggage claim was its usual mess -- but was made much better since we tied poke-a-dot ribbon to the tops of all our suitcases. (nothing's worse than coming down to baggage claim to see 9000 black bags laid out in front of you). We were driving up to Boca Raton to visit my Dad so we got off the ship first thing. It poured in Ft. Lauderdale so we got soaked getting our car. The Avis bus picked us up right at the pier. Unfortunately the bus driver did not wait for my husband to get on the bus before it left. The good news is that he had to circle around and we were able to get him to stop and let my husband on. Make sure you book a large car -- our luggage failed to fit in the initial car Avis tried to give us. Noteworthy Our cabin steward Ula from Jamaica was wonderful. Our 9 year old loves tootsie rolls. I knew he wouldn't like the mints they put on you pillows so I brought some mini tootsie rolls with me. I showed Ula where I hid them and she made sure they were on his pillow every night. He did eventually figure out where they came from but I had him convinced that RCCL really knew how to impress their guests. Also when we were in Jamaica I had forgotten to get change in Jamaican money for the kids. Ula was able to find some in her cabin for us. She did beautiful pillow arrangements everyday and did a great job of keeping our cabin neat even though we are slobs. Balcony cabin: It was really nice having a balcony especially since we had so many days at sea, but I don't know if it was necessary. We had gotten the balcony for a really good price. I would probably splurge in Alaska but unless the price is right I would go back to just a window. You are in your cabin so little. Cruise Staff: Everyone was warm and friendly. Never did we encounter a staff member with a bad attitude. Paul Rutter the Cruise Director was wonderful. Diego (not sure of title) was also great. Captain Per Arne Kjonso on the other hand could use some lightening up. He only made announcements at designated times. I enjoyed the Captain of the Monarch's unscheduled announcements more. He pointed out islands we were passing and gave updates on location and weather. Speaking of weather, every night there would be a note with our pillow telling us the next days weather. Strangely enough it was always supposed to be 84 degrees. (they never tell you about the 25 mph winds though). I think it came close only in Jamaica. Having said this, we felt that the service on the Monarch was a step better than what we observed aboard the Enchantment. Examples of on the Enchantment that we would never see on the Monarch: empty water glasses, tables that had empty food trays, empty clean towel baskets at the second level of the pool. There was no drop off, however, in the number of waiters trying to sell drinks throughout the ship. Cruising with children: We were lucky in that there were 8 other kids that we knew real well so our guys were constantly entertained. We recommend bringing the walkie talkies. Our boys really enjoyed the independence of walking around the ship themselves. Most nights when we were in the show or at a lounge, the boys would hole up in one of the cabin rooms and watch TV (lots of kids movies / cartoons), play games (chess, cards, scrabble, monopoly) and order room service for fries or cookies (bring lots of 2 dollar bills they are great for room service tips). We felt surprisingly safe. (and we are not the type to let our kids wander the neighborhood here at home -- we tend to be more conservative than most other parents). Generally, the kids had a great time and we were able to spend enough "alone time" with the grown ups that we never felt cabin fever or over dosed on kids. Would we cruise again? I would definitely cruise again however I would not place as much emphasis on the ports of call. I really wanted to get to Grand Cayman and was very disappointed when we did not. Realizing what I now know, if a port is that important to you, you should just fly there and spend a few days or a week. Cruising is a wonderful relaxing vacation it is not a mode of transportation. Would we cruise again on RCCL? Yes. However, some in our group thought the cruise wasn't as kid oriented as other cruise lines. Examples: The kids program closed periodically throughout the day; video games required coins to play (should have been free to kids). Also, the food was generally very good, but inconsistent Example: the Vichyssoise soup was down right poor, while the other chilled soups were excellent; some entrees and deserts were spectacular, others average. RCCL is clearly a mass market line and while it has all the physical amenities you could think of, this is not a high end cruise line. However, given the price, we doubt there's better value for the money available. And cruising on a very large ship may not be for everyone. We never felt things were overcrowded (for example, we could usually find pool deck chairs), but the fact remains that there were lots of people (and you meet all kinds) and we oft times forgot where such and such a lounge was located. Would we cruise this itinerary (western Caribbean)? Probably not. Too many days at sea and the ports that we did go to weren't as good as the ports in the Southern Caribbean. Key West was nice, but we weren't there for long enough. Cozumel was nice, but we were the last ship to arrive (out of 6) and that meant that things were crowded. Jamaica I could do without. Also two out of four ports you need to tender into port. We find this inconvenient since it limits your ability to get on / off the ship during the port visit and also limits time in port. The tender in from Key West took an hour from the time we waited in line to the time we were physically on the ship. Post Cruise Miami: After visiting my Dad in Boca we headed down to Miami. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn Miami Airport South. We had free Marriott rewards so that limited our choices. The hotel was great because it was attached to a Courtyard and a Marriott. Our room overlooked the pool and breakfast was included. On Christmas Day we went to Everglades National Park. If you have never been you are really missing out. Two years ago we went to the Shark Valley entrance and really enjoyed it. There is a tram ride that is narrated by a park ranger. We loved it so much we decided we had to go further into the Everglades. We were not disappointed. We entered the main entrance and worked our way down to the bottom. Royal Palm had great views of the birds and alligators. The landscape changes dramatically by the time you hit the bottom by Florida bay. The weather was iffy and we decided not to take the tour boat ride on the bay. We just walked around and had lunch at Flamingo Lodge. They had a wonderful gift shop where we bought some great prints of the birds we loved. After a long day we headed back to Miami and had dinner in our room. The next day we went to the Miami Seaquarium. They had lot of wonderful shows and we got a chance to identify some of the fish we snorkeled with in Cozumel. Our favorite shows included the Flipper show and the Killer Whale and Dolphin show. We went to South Beach (including the obligatory walk on the sand and hunt for shells) for dinner and ate at Wok and Roll on Collins Avenue near 12th street. The food was fantastic and the service was incredible. They were so attentive. Our last day of vacation. The kids swam it the pool for the last time and we headed back to Ft. Lauderdale. We ate lunch at the Ugly Tuna in the Las Olas shopping area. The food was good but our kids were more interested in the draw bridge. On the way back to the airport we stopped for some oranges and juice. Time to go back to Philly and await the big snow storm! Back to reality!!!!! Feel free to ask any questions my email address is dswolfson@yahoo.com01/08/01 Read Less
We sailed from December 17-December 24 on the Enchantment of the Sea. My husband and I are 43 and our son is 17 and our daughter is 13. This is a rather lengthy review so be prepared to sit here for a while! This was our first cruise ... Read More
We sailed from December 17-December 24 on the Enchantment of the Sea. My husband and I are 43 and our son is 17 and our daughter is 13. This is a rather lengthy review so be prepared to sit here for a while! This was our first cruise and I would like to thank everyone who posted information, questions and reviews on all the message boards because this is where I learned all about cruising. Pre Cruise - I booked our cruise directly from RCCL. I started out with a TA but found that I got a much lower price when I called RCCL myself. In July, I booked 2 cabins, one inside (for the kids) and one outside. We were given our cabins which were on Level 2 (B deck) and in the front of the ship (bow). At first I wasn't to keen on being so low in the ship but as we hit quite a lot of high seas, I was really grateful later! Towards final payment time I tried to get 2 outside rooms together but the price had almost doubled so we didn't bother. So IMHO I think it's best to book early to get a better rate plus get a cabin where you want to be. Night Before - We drove to Ft. Lauderdale from Cape Cod, MA because my husband doesn't like to fly and he likes to take 2 weeks off so he can really enjoy a long vacation. We arrived on Saturday and I had booked the AmeriSuites several months earlier after reading all the good things about this hotel on Cruise Critic's message boards. It's a beautiful hotel about 1/2 mile from Port Everglades and your nights' stay includes a free breakfast, free shuttle to your cruise ship and free parking in their lot, if you drove. I had gotten a price online at their website but found I got a lower rate when I called them direct. Embarkation - About 11:00 am we were dropped off in front of the Enchantment and our luggage was whisked away before we had entered the building! They checked our birth certificates and driver's licenses (we didn't get passports) and then we were told we could board. This took about 10 minutes total and then we were onboard getting our first, of many, photos taken. We entered into the Centrum and as we all stood there with our jaws dropped open, we took in all the beautiful surroundings! It truely is a grand ship. We were then directed to our cabins. Cabins - Our outside cabin #2022 was much bigger and better than what I had envisioned. Everyone said how small the lower cabins are and if you had 4 people in them it certainly would be claustrophobic but for 2 people it was quite comfortable. As for storage space, there was plenty. There were even drawers in the loveseat! The bathroom (head) was roomy too, although our kids bathroom was much smaller than ours. I felt a little claustrophobic in their inside room so I'm glad that we had a window. There cabin #2525 was smaller than our room, too. But the kids enjoyed being "alone," without parents, in their own space. Our luggage hadn't arrived yet so we checked our life jackets and the muster station we had to be at when the muster drill was called. We made our shore excursion plans and headed up to the Windjammer for a buffet lunch. Dining - Muster drill was at 4:30 pm and we set sail for Key West at 5:20 pm and after seeing Fort Lauderdale disappear we headed to the My Fair Lady dining room. We had first seating and sat at a table for 4 in the 2nd level. This is a beautiful eating area. Our only complaint was that we could feel a constant vibration throughout our entire cruise but we got used to it after a few days. Our waiter, Bo, and his assistant, Oana, were wonderful. You really get the royal treatment when dining. Our kids weren't used to this kind of dining so they really enjoyed the extra attention. The food was delicious and we had no complaints. Everything was cooked to our liking. On the other hand, I thought the Windjammer Lounge was so-so, not so great, but the kids loved it! They also liked getting a burger in the solarium. We purchased a drink sticker for each of the kids ($20 plus gratuity) and they could get a soft drink or Shirley Temple at any bar on board. If you ever get the chance to order the Boston Cream Cake, try it..........it's absolutely delicious. We talked about that dessert for days! Entertainment - One word - UNBELIEVABLE - I can't say enough about the shows, the Enchantment of the Sea singers and dancers, the magicians, the female singer/impersonator. Every night there was a show. We've been to Vegas shows and these were all right up there! The magic show of Laraf got a standing ovation and on the night of heavy seas it was amazing that no one lost their footing as they were singing and dancing around the stage. The crew even put on a Christmas show, because one of the bands didn't get on board due to rough seas. Unfortunately, we missed The Platters. We heard that was a great show, too. Our cruise director, Paul Rutter, was entertaining and made all the shows more enjoyable with his quick wit and jokes. Children's Programs - Unfortunately, our kids didn't want to get involved with the kids' clubs but there was a lot of things to do if they had signed up. They have their own clubs, etc. Ports - Key West - Been there, done that! Stayed onboard, by the pool, relaxed and checked out the ship. Cozumel - We docked at the pier and the Costa Atlantica was next to us. As we were all disembarking off the ships, an elderly woman fell into the water, between the Costa Atlantica and the dock!! It took about 5 minutes for one of their officers to jump in with a life preserver. She was very calm about all this but a huge crowd had gathered and finally someone with a boat came over and rescued them. After everyone left we went to our tour. We booked the Oceanview tour and saw all the coral reefs around Cozumel. It was a pretty good tour and when we got off, we went shopping. A word of caution: The vendors are VERY aggressive and if you look them in the eye, they WILL pester and bother you. We just looked straight ahead and didn't make eye contact. We were told ahead of time, by a RCCL person, on where to go for jewelry, etc. Cozumel is the best place to buy gems and diamonds. You can also buy Tanzanite at a great price here. Grand Cayman - Port authorities closed the port to all cruise ships and vessels due to high seas (8-9 ft) breaking against their docks. Since you have to tender in, there was no way we could go in. The captain apologized and said that there was no sense off sticking around so we headed for Jamaica. They revised all the activities for that day and gave away 3 different kinds of mixed drinks all day long (Bloody Marys, Mimosas and something else) The seas were high (10-13 ft) and the boat rocked back and forth the whole day!! Jamaica - This was one island that we planned on NOT seeing due to all of the negative things we've read about it but after they canceled Grand Cayman, we decided to book an excursion to Dunn's River Falls, Prospect Plantation and a short shopping trip. This island is absolutely beautiful! The islanders are very friendly and nice (at least the ones on the tour were). We took a lot of pictures at the Falls, it's breathtaking, and the plantation was very interesting. We saw a guy climb a coconut tree barefoot, and saw how they grew pineapples, sugar cane, different exotic fruits. They stopped at 2 different shopping areas where we bought t-shirts and that famous Blue Mountain coffee. I bought 2 bags and it really is the best coffee I've ever had! Warning - this is another place where the vendors can be very aggressive, just don't stop. Stay with your group and don't wander off. Drugs could be offered to you, so be careful. Misc. Onboard - Every day that we were in a port, most everything was closed. The pools and food areas were open, but that was about it. Once we set sail or had a "sea day" you could do a number of different things. From taking out a book at their library, to checking your e-mail on-line, playing in the casino or having a quiet drink in any of the 9 bars, there was something for everyone. There is bingo, shopping, looking at your photos, gem talks, ice sculpting demo, food design class, belly flop contest, best legs contest and horse races. Or you can simply relax. Motion Sickness - Since I am very likely to get sick from motion, I started taking Bonine the minute I got on board. Even as low as we were in our cabin, I still felt the slight sway of the ship. After the first rough night, everyone in my family started taking Bonine and took it until the next to last day. I had brought one box and had to buy 3 more on the ship but I will never trust another kind of motion sickness pill............this one was great! A lot of people were sick of motion on this cruise. Usually this route is much calmer. Again, I was glad our cabin was at the bottom because the higher up you were, the more motion you felt. SuperCharge Card - I did not like this idea at all! When you board your ship they ask you for a credit card that they can put all your purchases on. This same card was also used as your room key and boarding pass. They don't take cash for ANYTHING other than the casino and arcade. Even your drinks, soda or mixed drinks, are charged to this card, plus gratuity. We didn't want our kids to be able to charge whatever they wanted (candy, gifts, postcards, etc.) to our charge card so they were not allowed to charge with their card. My son put $50 cash on his card and at the end of the cruise got back whatever he didn't spend. Since I didn't want to put my purchases onto my husband's credit card I decided to use one of my own credit cards (we now had 2 accounts). Look at your bill VERY CLOSELY on the last morning. They don't give you a lot of time to dispute your bill if something is wrong. We found out the hard way! The bills are left outside your cabin early in the am. We were up at 6:30 am and the bills were already there. After taking a quick look we found several errors (most being that some things were charged to me that should have been on my husband's card and visa versa) The bill said that we could dispute this between 6 am and 7 am! We had like 15 minutes left to get up to the purser's desk. To make a long, very long, story short, we stood in 6 different lines, waited more than 1 1/2 hours, listened to some VERY angry people (not us) and STILL our problem wasn't fixed. I ended up having an extra $140 on my credit card that should have been on my husbands. By this time, our color was being called to disembark, so we left. By the way, disembarkation was very rapid..........we were off the ship in about 5 minutes! Last Words - We all had a great time and will definitely cruise again with RCCL. They treated us royally (except for that last morning) and the Enchantment is a beautiful ship. The Western Caribbean is a nice destination because we saw some really beautiful islands. If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at kleeann57@hotmail.com Thanks for listening! Happy cruising!01/09/01 Read Less
Sail Date: August 2003
My family just got back from a 6-day cruise to Key West, Cozumel and Belize on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas............. The Entertainment was by FAR the best that we have ever seen. Both my mother and myself have been ... Read More
My family just got back from a 6-day cruise to Key West, Cozumel and Belize on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas............. The Entertainment was by FAR the best that we have ever seen. Both my mother and myself have been on many many cruises of varying length and on many different lines, and found the entertainment on Enchantment of the Seas to be the best we have ever seen. The Cruise Director John Blair was excellent. The Children's Programs were also very good. There was never a dull moment~ My daughter was in the 11 year old group, and was delighted! The Cabin Size was a pleasant surprise, as we booked inside cabins and were concerned. The service in the dining room was most excellent~ In fact, I have enclosed a picture also for the contest that shows just how far they will go to make a cruise passenger (my husband David )happy~ Hats off to our GREAT waiter Bernard~ I am on a Low-Carbohydrate diet, and was nervous about being on a cruise surrounded by all that food and sweets, but I must say the best surprise for me, was the availability of sugar-free desserts at EVERY MEAL~ I was able to stay on my diet the entire time~ And they did not skimp either~ My last dessert on the cruise was a sugar-free pastry SWAN filled with sugar-free creme and sugar free apricot jam~ I will definitely cruise on Royal Caribbean again, as will my family~ Read Less
Sail Date: August 2003
BACKGROUND This was my 8th cruise. Six previous with Disney Cruise Line and 1 other with RCCL but that one was a disaster thanks to the Norwalk virus. I take my 11 y.o. granddtr. Maggie on a vacation every summer and she has cruised with ... Read More
BACKGROUND This was my 8th cruise. Six previous with Disney Cruise Line and 1 other with RCCL but that one was a disaster thanks to the Norwalk virus. I take my 11 y.o. granddtr. Maggie on a vacation every summer and she has cruised with DCL many times too. I didn't book this trip until 3 wks. before we sailed. PREBOARDING I had my 1st experience with Priceline when I booked a room for us in Ft. Lauderdale for the night before we cruised. I am always afraid to fly to the port on the actual 1st day of a cruise. I got a beautiful room at the Sheraton for less then $50 and we almost hated to leave the next morning. They had a free shuttle from the airport and took us to the ship on Sat. for a minimal fee. TERMINAL/ Embarkation This place looks much better then it did when my daughter and I were here in January. It still doesn't hold a candle to the DCL terminal, but we were only here for a brief time. Be sure to do your online paper work and bring a copy with you. Saves you time. I had a notarized letter from my dtr. giving me permission to take Maggie on this trip but was never asked to produce anything except her birth certificate. Luncheon was delicious at Windjammers. Kids were all given a hospital-style bracelet showing where their muster stations were in case they were separated from adults during an emergency. This is a great idea - surprised DCL doesn't do this. THE SHIP I was really impressed by the overall cleanliness and the beauty of this ship. Because I had an 11 y.o. with me I didn't get to use the adult pool area, but strangely enough, this was where you had to go to get pizza, burgers and fries so I did get to see it once or twice during the trip. There were always kids lined up for fast food, but 16 and over rule for pool and hot tubs seemed to be strictly enforced. On my last RCCL vacation I'd booked the cheapest room possible and was stunned by how small it was. I've gotten a cat.11 room once on DCL which is their cheapest room, and it was like a palace compared to the room I'd had on my last RCCL trip. This time I sprang for a "larger" outside room with windows. It was slightly larger then my last room, but still felt smaller then cheapest room on DCL. There were two medium size windows and a small loveseat, but bathroom was so small- I've seen phone booths that were larger. MEALS Food overall was good. I especially loved the breads. Everyday there are different kinds of rolls and breads served. All were yummy. I thought a few things had a strange after taste. I never left the table hungry, but I never thought "WOW! .....this is great!" either. We ate breakfast and lunch daily at the Windjammer. I do remember something called Philadelphia chicken being very good. PORTS Jamaica - beautiful natural resources, but a lot of poverty. Sales people very aggressive. My granddtr. was scared by several who wouldn't take No Thank You for an answer. We went to Dunn's River Falls on our own. $6 round trip on a bus, $10 to get into the falls. Maggie and I walked all the way to the bottom to get ready for the climb and both changed our minds. Later on the ship we met a man who was in a large leg brace/cast, who had injured his leg climbing the slippery rocks. If you plan on doing this, be sure to bring water shoes. AVOID THE SHOPS AT THE TOP - so pushy they scared us! Grand Cayman - Did ship excursion Stingray City snorkel/swim. What a great experience. Best excursion ever! SHIP ACTIVITIES I thought the juggler and the comedians were great, but RCCL singers and dancers were just okay. I thought it might just be me- Disney does stage shows much better, but table mates at dinner said the same thing. Activities director sang a lot and his voice wasn't that strong. I didn't spend much time in casino or at adult late night, but never was bored. I did notice one thing. The Caribbean band, adult pool games,etc. were held at the pool where the kids could swim. I never saw more the 5 or 6 people in adult pool, but there were so many adults in kids pool (many without kids) there were times kids couldn't move around. They should move band and adult - geared activities down to adult pool and free up this area for the kids. (pools were bigger then the family and adults only pools found on DCL ships) . All in all, we hated to see this trip end. It was well worth the cost (cheaper then DCL) and I look forward to sailing on the Enchantment again someday. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2003
We booked this cruise at the last minute since my wife and I felt that we needed one vacation before the school year started. I had tried to get a cabin for the 8-14-03 sailing on the Sovereign of the Seas which only had inside cabins left ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute since my wife and I felt that we needed one vacation before the school year started. I had tried to get a cabin for the 8-14-03 sailing on the Sovereign of the Seas which only had inside cabins left and the Disney Wonder, which was sold out. I like to work on Monday but without any other options I elected to take the four day Western Caribbean cruise that left on a Thursday and returns Monday. This was a very fortunate choice. We went down to Fort Lauderdale a day early on Wednesday and checked into the Lago Mar Resort. We got a good AAA rate on Expedia for $158 a night for a "Super Deluxe One Bedroom Suite". This is an ocean front resort at the southern end of Fort Lauderdale. Because of the quirky canals and road system, it is hard to get to but this is good because there is no street traffic around the resort. We also like the Hyatt Pier 66 but the suite at Lago Mar was oceanfront, had a giant living room and a full kitchen. The resort decor is pure 1970's style but in excellent condition. Because it was built sometime ago it does have some "standard" rooms that have walkways in front of all windows. We were not there long enough to use the restaurants. Fort Lauderdale is a fun city. Because no construction is allowed on the ocean side of A1A, it has a great beach feel. We went to "Beach Place" a nice retail and restaurant mall at the ocean and ate at Sloppy Joe's. After we ate the four of us got on two "Ocean Rickshaws" and took a quick $10 tour. These giant tricycles are fun and the kids enjoyed it until it started to pour. The drivers raced us to our car where we dried out. We also found a very nice Publix Supermarket that has a parking garage on top of it. A little further west is the "Museum of Discovery and Science". This is the best discovery type museum that I have ever seen. My eight-year-old boy and seven-year old girl had a wonderful time and were not ready to leave after three hours. Pier 25 is where the Enchantment was docked. We parked in the garage and wheeled our luggage to the check in. We should have driven up to drop the bags off but the garage looks so close. We got to the pier at one PM and we were in our cabin in thirty minutes. We had Cabin 8500, The Royal Suite. In October 2000, we had sailed on a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise on the Enchantment. At that time we had the Cabin 8018, The Royal Family Suite. The live music from the pool deck was very loud. There was always live music on deck from 11:30 PM to 1:30 AM and it woke us up. It was so loud that a mirror actually fell off the wall in the bathroom and broke on the floor. We were moved to Cabin 8502, an Owner's Suite where it was quite serene. We were able to tour the Royal Suite and I really have wanted to stay there since that time. The noise problem seems to have been fixed since the live band now has all of the loudspeakers up on an elevated stage and not right on the deck like before. The cabin is spectacular. It is 1138 square feet. There is a bar with stools, dining area and nice living room. In front of the bar is a Yamaha Disklavier grand piano. We do not really play but the Disklavier also plays midi files. There were about twenty cartridges so we were always listening to "live piano music". The bathroom has a separate toilet bidet room with sink. The main part of the bathroom has two sinks, a large jetted tub and a two-person steam sauna/shower combo. What we had never seen before in any bathroom were clear etched glass sinks. There was lighting in the under sink cabinets and at night the sinks would glow. That was completely outrageous. The bedroom had a king-size bed with a separate entrance to the balcony. Our two children stayed on the fold out couch in the living room. We were very fortunate to get this cabin. Most of the top cabins on this and other cruise lines are limited to three or fewer passengers. I guess that they do not want it to take a lot of abuse from an entire family. It cost us $4500 for the four of us. We could have gone in an oceanview stateroom with a balcony for $1800 but that is what credit cards are for. Since our cruise in October 2000 the ship looked even newer and in better shape. RCI has done a very good job at keeping this ship young. All of the passengers and crew were happy. We were put at a table with two other couples who had come from Ohio for their first cruise. They were just delightful and we really enjoyed seeing them every night. We never did the same things during the day so we got to trade tales of all of our daily adventures. They were actually in-laws and got along great. We go to bed early so we were always given a good synopsis of the previous evening's entertainment. Our children became quite fond of them and still talk about Barb, John, Barbara and Tony. The Windjammer Buffet is open for all meals upstairs but we only went if we were in a hurry and never for dinner. We do not go out socially very much and it has become one of our highlights to meet new people in the sit down restaurants. We never make acquaintances in the buffet and there is some sort of competition going on to get the best food. Our waiter Leeanne and our assistant waiter Juan were excellent and kept up the momentum. On the cruise in 2000 we actually got video of our kids sleeping on the table while we waited interminably for the next course. In Key West we did the World Class Light Tackle Fishing shore excursion. This was an authentic Florida salt water fishing trip. It was a twenty-two foot center console boat with a 150 horsepower outboard and a T top. There were only four people on each boat in addition to the captain so we had the boat to ourselves. There were only two boats that day so this excursion may sell out early. This appeared to be run by the same company that runs the Key West Cup Regatta. The regatta looked like a real fast sailboat and that the passengers would really be sailing it. Captain Mike was our captain. He was grizzled and sunburned but had a heart of gold. Unlike fishing with friends and family, it is not possible to do anything wrong that would bother Captain Mike. The customer is always right. My wife and two kids have not done much fishing and Captain Mike asked us what we wanted to get. It is possible to hook up with huge tuna or other giants but I told him that we wanted "quantity not quality". We motored about one mile away and then when he saw fish on the fish finder he put four lines over board and we each held one. We reeled in fish after fish. We caught Mangrove Snapper, Jack, Croaker and even a ten-pound Permit. At one point my wife's rod bent in half and we knew she had something huge. We were looking astern where the line was and then directly to port we see a six-foot tarpon breach the water one hundred yards away and spit out the bait. What a magnificent sight. The excursion is billed as "catch and release" so there is no question about what is worth keeping since none of them are keepers. Captain Mike had about twelve sodas and bottles of water but if there is something particular that is desired it should be purchased in Key West and then brought on board. Captain Mike would probably run to the store and get it. We stopped taking pictures after the first twenty fish and just had fun. Captain Mike could untangle lines, bait hooks, and put on new hooks in a matter of seconds. "Light Tackle" should not be confused with fly-fishing. These were standard salt-water rods except they are lightweight and good for both kids and adults to use. I had been wondering how much to tip Captain Mike but the standard fishing guide trick worked on me. Every group has to sign in and leave an emergency number. This is in a ledger book that has the previous group names. After each name was boldly printed "TIP $80" or whatever they gave. The trip was $149 per person and normally a trip like this would be $500 for a fully outfitted and guided boat with $100 tip so I gave him $100. The total cost for the four of us was about $700 but we will remember this for years. In Cozumel, we did the Tropical Safari 4X4 Adventure Tour. We had done the Backcountry Jeep and Canoe Safari in Ketchikan, Alaska on the Celebrity Mercury. This was a completely different experience. The Cozumel driving is six hours of bone crunching and requires some real four wheeling in deep sand and over hard rocks. We went about ten miles in a caravan of twenty Jeeps and Chevrolet Geos across the island on hard top through some small villages and then took a left and started up a dirt road/path along the coast going north. The scenery was tropical island scrub. However, we were being scorched by the sun with the top of the vehicle down. We had just about had it when we turned around and then went onto the beach. The temperature dropped about twenty degrees near the water and everyone's mood changed. There was an umbrella with two reed mats set up for every two people. The water was gorgeous and the surf was active but not too bad. However, there were no lifeguards so most people just went in knee deep. There was a good Mexican buffet with lots of nonalcoholic beverages. We then went back the way we had come. There is a break point at the famous "Pee Pee Station". There were various souvenirs for sale. There was also a young woman who had taken a picture of us in the Jeep and a picture of the kids at the beach. Everyone on a cruise is familiar with all of the people who take pictures to sell to you later. However, these photos astounded us. She had just walked up and snapped them and they were the best pictures that we had seen of our family. They were already enlarged and ready for sale when we hit the Pee Pee Station. We bought two of them for twenty dollars. I had used up the tip money so I went back to the ship and brought back $20 to tip the guide. We needed the At Sea Day to recover from these two days of activity. The kids went to the kids club several times. We like this on RCI and Celebrity better than on Disney. Disney Cruises does family events better than anyone does. Our children really liked the dueling piano family sing-a-longs and other family events. However, the kids clubs on Disney are so full of children that our kids get overwhelmed and are not very relaxed. On this cruise the kids club had about ten children who were with my kids and they had a very nice time. We did go to a family event, which was a "regatta". Each parent/child team would build a boat using cardboard, tape and balloons. We came in first place since we were the only ones who went. The counselors with the program are all excellent and our kids had lots of fun. In summary, I was very glad that I was not able to book a good cruise to the Bahamas. Instead, I got a real fast Western Caribbean tour without having to take much time off from work. If you are considering a Bahamas cruises definitely, check out this short Western Caribbean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2003
We just finished our family cruise aboard the Enchantment of the Seas and I would like to let anybody who is going on this ship know what to expect... We had a great time from beginning to the end. This was our 3rd cruise -- 2 with Rccl ... Read More
We just finished our family cruise aboard the Enchantment of the Seas and I would like to let anybody who is going on this ship know what to expect... We had a great time from beginning to the end. This was our 3rd cruise -- 2 with Rccl and 1 with Carnival and I would have to rate Rccl better in many ways. Do not get me wrong we had a ball on Carnival (my kids like Carnival better) but Rccl has better food /entertainment And over all better service.. Enchantment is a beautiful ship and she is in great Shape. This ship was very clean and it seem that the crew was always around to keep her clean. The food, service, and entertainment were out standing. The ports were ok .. Key West was mostly set up for shopping because we were In port for only a short while. Mexico i would suggest that you do one of the many excursions because the people in the shops close to the ship are very Aggressive and some times rude. We have done excursions in this port and every One was fun. In Mexico there is a bar close to the ship called Senior Frogs where for can eat drink and snorkel. The last port was Belize where we did A great excursion where you river tube though the rain forest and caves. We took Reg Tours, which is a river tour, trust me you will love this tour. Getting on and off the ship for us was the easiest of all 3 cruises for us . One piece of advice is to get to the ship a day early and stay at a hotel .. A lot of people had problems with their flights and some have missed the ship .In closing this was a wonderful time and you will love the ship .. Have a great time and feel free to write with any questions you might have ... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2003
We sailed the Enchantment Sept 11, 2003 for a 4 day cruise to Key West and Cozumel. This was our 7th cruise, 5 with RCCL. I sailed the sister ship, the Grandeur, in 1997. This is by far the nicest short cruise offered. The ship was in ... Read More
We sailed the Enchantment Sept 11, 2003 for a 4 day cruise to Key West and Cozumel. This was our 7th cruise, 5 with RCCL. I sailed the sister ship, the Grandeur, in 1997. This is by far the nicest short cruise offered. The ship was in great condition and was cleaned constantly during the cruise. Embarkation was swift, no lines. We arrived at 12:15 and were on the ship 15 minutes later, having registered online. The Windjammer was open for lunch and the pool chairs were filling up. One new addition to the Windjammer was a station for wraps and specialty sandwiches. They also make omelets for breakfast at this area. They had Egg Beaters available, too. My only complaint was that they did not put salsa out for eggs; it was brought upon request, though. We booked an inside cabin, which is always fine for us as we never stay in it. It was small, but adequate and clean. Carl was our steward and his cheerful smile and great service were appreciated. There was a hairdryer and a safe in the room. It works on one card only- this can be a problem if you separate and your mate has the credit card! The ship is beautiful with it's earth tones, brass trim, marble atrium and interesting artwork. We never felt the infamous "vibration" that we've read about. It's the crew and staff that made this cruise so special. We had the pleasure of seeing Matt Baker for the second time; this time he is the Cruise Director. This job is well suited for this musically talented man who also does magic tricks and dances well. His personality is contagious- he clearly enjoys this position and is as good or better than any I've seen. He made the Quest game an absolute riot (which we WON, by the way!) He does a crazy Austin Powers without having to change his accent. The food was good, some things were very good. Service in the dining room was excellent. We had waiter Erdum Ertugrul and assistant Norbert Kiss (pronounced "Keesh") as an assistant. They were both excellent! Norbert had the most beautiful smile and huge dimples- he even enjoyed singing and the parade! I hope to see him as a head waiter in the future. We had 4 friendly tablemates which made for a pleasant dining experience. Entertainment was so-so to excellent, depending on the venue. Our favorites were the Serenade Trio who played in the Atrium. Jean Pierre, Vincent and Steve are French Canadians who are great musicians, showmen and really super guys. We had the pleasure of talking to them often. (Thanks guys for letting me sit in at the piano! ) The group we were with really enjoyed that. We also liked the Tango Connection- mellower music, very pretty. Moses and the Highbrows provided selections in the Carousel Lounge, and provided a great set for "Under the Stars" dancing. We saw all of the entertainers at the clubs and saw almost all of the shows and really enjoyed the RCCL production of "Can't Stop the Rock", a tribute to movie music. One dancer, a tall blonde Australian named James was so awesome it was hard to take your eyes off of him. I met him in the gym and he was very nice as well. One production "The Beatle Maniacs" was quite entertaining. Fun to hear them, they had an authentic sound instrumentally and vocally. We missed the "Love and Marriage" game, but caught it on TV later. The Quest game was wild. 22 teams of 6. We were "adopted" on the first day of the cruise by a fun group from Alexandria, and they had my husband working for them. They already had bras in hand, plus makeup, etc. Serious players, but my husband found the first set of false teeth which boosted our score. We won a RCCL hat, which I wore daily. If you are easily offended, don't attend. There was a bit of flashing going on and some women showed tattoos that were meant to not be viewed in public. We do not enjoy smoky casinos, so I can't comment on that or the Bingo. Pool games were crazy, again, thanks to Matt. The gym was okay- a bit too hot. One day they had music just blasting, the other two days there was no music, no TVs, pretty hard to do aerobic activities. There were 10 treadmills, several were loose and making noise. There were 2 Lifestyle elliptical trainers, 6 bikes- only one with straps and a couple stairsteppers. Only 5 or 6 Cybex machines, one rack of free weights. A pretty small area and a bit cramped. The rock climbing wall has been installed outside of the workout room and seemed to be a huge hit. The internet cafe always had empty terminals, but using AOL was frustratingly slow and expensive. In Key West, we returned to Fast Buck Freddie's. This store has a selection of Tommy Bahama and other tropical clothing, as well as nice home furnishings, children's items, etc. After shopping, we strolled down to the famous Rick's bar for some shirts and stayed for a drink and some fun live music. Everyone on this island wears a smile, I swear! Cozumel is a favorite stop for us. We returned to beautiful Chankanaab Park to snorkel in crystal clear, calm waters and enjoy the company of beautiful fish. I had a refreshing one mile swim before having a yummy snack and returning to the ship to shower. Why did we shower? After that we returned to Carlos and Charlie's for the drunkfest. A lot of laughing, people-watching and dance, dance dance! We were soaking wet! Saw many of our new friends from the ship and had a ball. Our sea day was relaxing and fun- strolling on the deck, watching pool games, ice carving, etc. and saying sad good-byes to the great people we had met. There was a diverse group on this ship- mainly late 20's to 60 with a few extremes. There were few teenagers( who had been quite rowdy on past cruises.) We had blue tags (the second group) and were off the ship at about 10. We sailed through customs and luggage area in 10 minutes. Best yet. We feel that RCCL fits our personalities. We've been a bit disappointed on past short cruises, as they just didn't seem up to par. This one greatly exceeded our expectations and I would recommend it to anyone. If anyone wants more information feel free to write me at LLindaC@aol.com Read Less
Enchantment of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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