Enchantment of the Seas May 11th
Another wonderful Royal Caribbean cruise is underway with a four hour drive to the beautiful Cruise Maryland port of Baltimore.
We arrived at the port about 10:30 to find no lines in the parking lot, so we left our checked bags with the porters at the luggage trams and proceeded to the parking queue. There we paid the $15 a night parking fee and were directed to the proper lot. After unloading The Boss' scooter and carry-on, I parked in the handicapped section and met her at the door to the terminal building where we were escorted to the health questionnaire station and on to check-in. We saw our friends waiting to board, and commenced our fun even before setting foot on the ship. Boarding was quite uneventful we were sent up the new ramp to Enchantment. Since you start the trek at the same level as deck one-half (about) and need to get to the level of deck 4 it is a walk up ramps. I swear they should have oxygen at some of the turns.
We entered in the Centrum of Enchantment and the WOW factor hit us. For a smaller ship, we've been on Voyager, Freedom and Oasis class before, this was an amazing area with a prismatic sculpture that played with the light showing us mini-rainbows during the entire cruise. It also served as a venue for some fantastic live music. Our cabin was in this level but we couldn't get to it until 1:30 so we schlepped our carry-on up to the Windjammer in search of food. Evidently the Honey-stung Chicken was not in attendance for our cruise. Not to worry, there were many other selections to stave off our hunger. A little tour of the ship and it was time to check out our first Ocean view cabin. The only negative, and it is a bit of a nitpicker, is the exterior of our window could have been cleaner. Other than that super-minor deficiency, we loved the cabin. Our Cabin Steward, J.J., did a wonderful job seeing to our requests and keeping the cabin spotless too. Off to dinner in the My Fair Lady Dining room, My Time Dining section on deck 5. We had some logistical problems as there are 10 of us for dinner. The problem was fixed later in the cruise so I'm going to call it "No harm -- No foul". The waiters we had were both excellent and one I would even like to see as a Head Waiter soon, he is that good. One of the Assistant Waiters, Natalie Woods (yes that is her name) was the epitome of Royal Crown Service. Once they found out there were some serious savory bites addicts at the table, we had three plates of them right after we sat down. Glasses were never empty and Bento, our Head Waiter candidate, brought extra food for our approval. And In, our other waiter was also on breakfast and lunch duty in the Windjammer where we were greeted with "Exceeelllent Choice" whenever we met.
Day 2 was our first sea day and found us at the Windjammer for our traditional breakfast meeting of the Executive Committee. Then on to the Unofficial Meet & Mingle in the Viking Crown Lounge. One of our roll call made really neat nametag for us, thanks Wallygator. After the M&M we adjourned to the Casino Royale for our slot-pull. Although we didn't "break the bank" we didn't "lose our shorts" either. We got to holler at the machine and cheer each other on. After the casino we did an informal lunch in the Main Dining Room. The Tutti Salad is not to be missed. This is like a salad bar on steroids. As you walk around the table you direct the chef to add items to your bowl, after you have added all the shrimp, turkey, lettuce, and other wonderful items your salad is chopped and dressed. Then plated and ready for you to devour with gusto. The phrase Yum-Yum is not enough. Then off for a few hands of cards and a dice game called LCR on the pool deck. Night #2 is the first, of two, formal nights on Enchantment's 6 night itinerary. A side note for those of us that love escargot, there is none, is seems the supplier is experiencing a shortage of these gastronomic delights and is unable to provide them for our pleasure. The culinary team of Royal Caribbean has come up with a substitute of Bay Scallops dine in the escargot style. Not bad, not escargot, but not bad. Tonight was the Captains reception in the Spotlight Lounge. We got to meet some of the officers on the way into the lounge, enjoyed a "bubbly beverage" and listened to Captain Anders impart some wisdom on us as well as introducing his staff. He did apologize for cutting his talk short as he wanted to get back to the bridge and look up Bermuda on MapQuest. We wrapped up our evening with our traditional "meeting" in the Cigar Bar section of the Viking Crown Lounge (VCL).
Sunday saw our arrival in Beautiful Bermuda, and Mother's Day too. We sailed through the access channel to King's Wharf where we docked, nose-to-nose, with NCL Dawn. This process occurred about 3pm and many were off the ship at 3:30 for some quick shopping before dinner. I'm sure some of our fellow cruisers were in search of the elusive Rum Swizzle as well. We decided to do a little looking around before we returned for dinner. Nothing noteworthy happened after dinner other than an early bed to get ready for tomorrow.
Monday morning I met our friends and two of us went over to the scooter shop, no we didn't get power wheelchairs, and picked up the deluxe scooters we had reserved online for our day of exploration. We drove all over the island visiting, and climbing, Gibbs lighthouse for an exquisite view. We also visited Horseshoe Beach and a few others to boot. We did a stopover in Flatts Village, how quaint, and the National Aquarium. This should not be missed. By this time we had to do an "Easy Rider" thing back to the Dockyard to meet our other friend for and adult beverage and tour of the Maritime Museum. These grounds overlook the harbor where we are docked and provided many photo opportunities for us. There are old gun emplacements and many other items of historical significance both inside, and outside of the Commissioner's residence. By this time we were dusty, tired and hungry so it was back to the ship for a shower and appetizers before dinner. Tonight was the "Welcome Back" party for those who have reached Gold and above status in the Crown & Anchor Society. Then we had more bubbly and kind words for the Captain and Loyalty Ambassador, as well as a bit if a sales pitch. Quest was Monday night but, for a few reasons, we didn't make it.
Tuesday is a sad day, it's the day we leave Bermuda. We had a few errands to run before we shoved off at noon. We had to return the scooters and do some last minute shopping. We also had to leave a memento for a friend who would be docking on another ship later in the day. By the way, the memento did no harm to the beauty and ambiance of the island. After everyone was aboard we slowly left the dock and through the channel on our way back to Baltimore. I was honored to be included in the Bridge Tour that was conducted by one of the Second Officers on board. He seemed a bit nervous but calmed down as the tour went on. He took us out to the starboard bridge wing, which on this ship is open to the air. He told us that even though Enchantment was a conventional powered ship, shaft propellers rather than Azipods, she had the ability to stay in a geo-stationary position without having to drop anchor. This is done with a combination of the props and fore and aft side thrusters. A few pictures and on to the cards and fun of the day. Tonight was the second formal night and the celebrated Fisherman's platter with lobster. Our waiters, Bento and Natalie, did their usual excellent job anticipating and caring for our wants and needs. This was also the "Top Tier" event for Platinum and above C&A members. This consisted of some more short speeches by Capt. Anders and James the Loyalty Ambassador. One of the things they did mention was Enchantment being replaced in Baltimore by Grandeur of the Seas in 2013, Enchantment will go to Port Canaveral. Dancing and more champagne drinks were available for those who hung in. We opted to "do our own thing".
Wednesday is our last day and our final day at sea. We took this time to do a whole bunch of nothing. We hung around the Solarium Pool and chatted, noshed and planned for more trips. Tonight we decided to visit the Windjammer for dinner. On the way, we stopped in the MDR to present our thanks and envelopes to our waiters. We will certainly miss them all. Dinner was phenomenal. All the food was prepared well and the selection was as broad as it was deep. We were sorry we waited to go there for dinner. Back to the cabin to pack and get ready for the morning. We wound up going to help rescue a friend who had a bit of a mishap but all is well and we got on with the task at hand.
The day has arrived, the dreaded last day. Breakfast is in order and then collecting our belongings for debarkation. We went to the area for handicapped disembarkation and waited for our number to be called. We were escorted to deck 1, rather than brave the new ramp. We grabbed a porter and I got the car, scooter and luggage loaded and we were on our way back to Pittsburgh. 4 hours later, we arrived back in our living room and started the laundry.
This was a fantastic trip to a fantastic island with some wonderful, wonderful friends to share it with. We can't wait for November and our trip on Freedom of the Seas and our January trip on the re-vitalized Enchantment of the Seas.
Thanks for reading and keep cruising.