This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise. I choose this cruise because we were able to drive to Baltimore in a day and didn't have to stress over flights or anything like that. It cost a little more than our previous cruises but figured it was worth it to try a RC cruise. We have previously cruised 3 times with Carnival.
The boat itself is showing its age despite having renovations done in 2005. Public areas were clean though. Restrooms were hits and misses. Didn't make use of pool or hot tubs.
The embarkation was awful - the line ups were SO long. We must have waited a good 1.5 hrs or so to get through security and check in. We've been on the Carnival Dream where there was about a 1000 more passengers and it didn't take as long to embark.
We found our luggage right away as the staff were unloading it onto deck 3 and we managed to get into our rooms. Our inside room was impressive as it had a small sitting area with a love seat. It also had heavy curtains to seperate the beds and the sitting area. There was also a good amount of storage space. I would love more hooks or rails on the walls to hang up clothes or towels in the room. This is true of hotels too. More hooks and towel racks!!
Beds were comfortable altough my daughters said the blankets on the pull downs beds were too thin and they were cold at nights.
The public spaces are well laid out. There was never a sense of over crowding. The Centrum worked well. They had cooking demonstrations in the centre and people were able to look down and see everything for about 4 deck levels.
The staff was excellent. Everyone had a smile and worked hard. There was always someone polishing, clearing tables or fixing something.
The Enchantment had a couple of nice touches that we didn't get on Carnival cruises. There was a reception for Canadians to meet each other and Canadian crew memebers. They served small snacks and drinks. I'm not sure if they did anything similar for other nationalities.
There was also a simple non-denominational service for Christians on Sunday and also something for Jews on their Sabbath. The activities manager led the service. She tried her best. But at least it was something.
Now for the food. I have read other reviewers say the food was unimpressive and I have to agree. We ate most dinners at "My Fair Lady". The servers were so hard working and tried to accommodate my children's food allergies. However, on a few occassions, I think someone forgot to tell the chef that the dish was for a child because a huge amount would come out or it was too spicy for a child. Bless them for trying.
No matter how hard the servers worked, it can't cover up the fact that the food was mediocre. I would have to say that the quality and taste of the food on Carnival is superior. That said, my husband had the lamb shank one night and he said it was fantastic.
The food in Windjammer was predictable buffet style and quality. There was always plenty and lots of crew members to help passengers.
I couldn't help compare with Carnival the quality and variety of food even buffet style. The pizzas I had on all 3 Carnival ships were delicious. Not so on the Enchantment. Carnival had a deli, fish and chips, pasta, stir fry, pizza, burrito and maybe another specialty area but Enchantment didn't. Enchantment would have different nationality's cuisine nightly in the Windjammer. Once again crew in the Windjammer was excellent, very helpful.
The Windjammer is laid out so that there was never a long line up to get your food at any of the stations. Whereas on Carnival ships, the food is laid out in a linear fashion so that longs lines are everywhere for buffet dining. On the Enchantment's buffet dining area, there are stations so that people can pop in and out of areas to get their food so there never seemed to be any line ups except for the egg stations in the mornings and stir fries in the evenings. They also bring the stir fry to you rather than have you wait in line while the cooks work on it like on Carnival where you have to wait a LONG time for your food.
The entertainment was very good. The singers and dancers were excellent. Very funny juggler/comedian by the name of Adam Kario did a great job. The cruise director John Blair was quite cheesy and I just couldn't "get" him.
My children enjoyed the kids' club and also the rock climbing and trampoline. The sports staff especially Callan was very good with the kids.
The clientele on the RC ships seem to be a little older than Carnival's. I think there were more families with children on Carnival.
Our time in Bermuda seemed rushed. We reached Bermuda at 11:30am but we sailed out the next day at 5pm or so. We didn't even have 2 full days.
We went to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. It was small and good for an hour or so. The next day we went to Snorkel Park to do some swimming and snorkeling. So did several hundred other people. Way too crowded to get some good snorkeling in. Also, it's a dirty beach. I found a lot of broken glass pieces on the beach and in the water. Lots garbage everywhere. They charge you $10/adult to get in. With that money they should clean up the beach. The coral there is pretty much dead but lots of fish to see. If we had more time in Bermuda, I would have gone to another beach. But since this beach was within walking distance from the ship, we went there.
The customs and immigration process at Boston was so time consuming. Enchantment had us non-US citizens in a lounge by 7:30am but because we had to wait for everyone to come to the lounge before they could start, we didn't get clearance until a little after 9am. However, we had a great border/customs officer, a really nice US border/customs officer. You don't hear people say that often! When my girls said they were hungry, he got food for them and told us the places we should visit. He was a really chatty guy and helpful. Boston was too short too. Just managed to walk to Quincy Market.
Newport was a very charming town. Missed out on the raw oyster happy hour in several of the restaurants in the port area though. Very disappointed about that. Wouldn't mind going back to Newport.
Disembarkation was better. We got our own luggage off the ship so we were off by about 8:10am or so.
I am grateful that we were able to go on a cruise so I do appreciate Enchantment of the Seas. It was different from Carnival but not in a bad way. It had positives and negatives. I won't rush to get on the Enchantment again. Like I said, if this was my first cruise, I would be more favourable to the Enchantment. I wouldn't mind trying RC's big newer ships though.