My DH and friends earned a half price certificate courtesy of RCI ... we were on the Oct 10th sailing of the Freedom when a freaky storm caused some excitement. Being as we are all from MD we decided sailing out of the port of Baltimore was most convenient plus we liked this itinerary.
As we only live an hour northwest of Baltimore we chose to use a shuttle service as opposed to parking at the pier at $15 per day. Since there were six of us we would have needed two cars at $120 per car. We used KD Elite, very efficient and reasonable. They only charged us $80 each way which we split 3 ways. If you live in the Baltimore area check out KD Elite at www.kdelitetrans.com
We are all seasoned cruises and knew that if we timed this just right we could be one of the first ones to eat lunch at the Windjammer. We arrived at the pier just after 11, Embarkation was a breeze and we were enjoying our first meal on board around 12. As we were enjoying our meal and each other's company we realized it was after 1pm and time to get into our cabins.
We were all on deck 7 only two decks below the Windjammer on deck 9. We were in cabin 7168 an AFT JS, our friends were in 7140 & 7138. This was the first time we booked an AFT cabin but I can tell you it will not be our last. There was plenty of storage space, a large closet, full bath and an awesome extended balcony. Our balcony had two loungers, two chairs and a table, very nice. The cabin itself is spacious although you can see that the furnishings are well worn.
Our cabin steward, Rodolfo Dela Cruz, greeted us shortly after our arrival. He immediately began pampering us by bringing us ice and more hangers for our clothes. His warm smiles and greetings each day were such a joy. This is our 13th sailing and our 6th with RCI and I am pleased to say that Rodolfo was one of the best cabin stewards we have ever had.
We chose main seating for our dining and were very pleased with our wait staff, Rummel & Mark. We sat at table #31, a window table, on deck 5. The food was well prepared each night. One added feature that we did take advantage of was being able to order a steak from Chops and stay in the main dining room. Although my DH and I love going to Chops the rest of our group does not. In the past we would go but then we missed our table talk with our friends. I really like having this option.
We ate almost all of our meals in the dining room. We enjoy finer dining so buffets are not our favorites but the Windjammer is a great alternative. Just a hint for breakfast, stop by Starbucks get a specialty coffee and one of their pastries, these pastries are much nicer than the ones served in the dining room. Don't miss lunch ...especially their Tutti salad which I had everyday:-)
There were plenty of activities available although most of the outdoor ones were cancelled due to the rainy cool weather. Still you could always go to the Solarium if you wanted some pool time. On the way to Bermuda, after dinner we used the Solarium to play cards however once we headed north we had to switch to the schooner bar, it was way to cold in the Solarium.
The schooner bar was a great place to relax, play cards get a drink. The wait staff was very friendly and attentive. They would always ask who won the game.The only negative that I could say about the schooner bar was the piano guy. If he would just play the piano and not sing, terrible singer. We would cringe when we saw him come in.
We only saw two shows... a comedic juggler, who was very good and a group called Tribute who did exactly that, a tribute to the Temptations.We had seen Tribute on another cruise and knew we were in for a treat. They are awesome! We also watched a movie "War Horse" one afternoon, very nice.
First stop ... Bermuda ... WOW!!! what a beautiful destination. The first day we did the Taxi Tour, had an excellent tour guide. There were only 6 in our taxi which made it very comfortable. We were able to see all the high points of Bermuda before being dropped off in Hamilton where we were able to stroll the shops and get a light bite to eat at the Pickled Onion. We ordered 4 appetizers, two ice teas and two waters ... our bill was $64 dollars. This is not the Caribbean. After our light bite we took the ferry back to our home away from home, the Enchantment. Highly recommend this tour.
Our second day in Bermuda we did the Horseshoe Beach Shuttle Tour. What a lovely beach. It was only in the low 70's so we ladies did not venture into the water, we were content to stroll this gorgeous beach and lounge in the sun. There was this high cropping of rocks that some of the boys climbed where the views were fantastic. I tried climbing as well but did I mention that is was pretty high? I did not make it to the top. When our beach time was over we took the shuttle back to the dockyard and roamed the shops. Alas, it was time to embark and head north.
Boston was cool with a light rain so we were really glad that we booked the Trolley Tour instead of a walking tour. Our Trolley guide, Mr. Kelly, was a retired teacher which was a bonus for us. He was a wealth of information and loved to share his knowledge. This tour took you to all the highlights of old Boston and ended either at Quincey Market or back at the Enchantment. We chose Quincey Market and so glad we did. Here we were able to try some of the local foods, lobster roll and lobster bisque, yummy. The Trolley depot was only 1 block from Quincey Market and a short ride back to the pier. Very good tour.
Our last stop, Newport RI where we would tender in despite the rain. Yes, it was really really rainy, cold and windy however the tender crews did a fantastic job in getting us to Newport and the ship safely. Here we opted for the Vanderbilt Mansion tour and considering the weather we chose wisely. Our tour guide was great and a fun time was had by all.
Last day time to leave the ship. We went to breakfast at 7:30am and yes we did stop at Starbucks first. By the time we went back to our rooms to freshen up and gather our carry ons or offs in this case they were already calling our number to disembark. We had no trouble finding our luggage and there were plenty of bellhops to assist us. Being seasoned cruisers we know that things don't always go this smoothly so we did not have our shuttle scheduled until 11 and here it was 9:30am. No problem we called KD Elite and 30 minutes later we were on our way home. We arrived home around 11am. Again if you are local to Baltimore call KD Elite they are wonderful.
Although the Enchantment is older she has had some improvements done to her and my understanding is she is going to get some more touches up this year. Can't wait to see what they are as we are sailing on her again April 1, 2012.