PASSENGER PROFILE: This crowd had a broad spectrum of representation, but for the most part was 50-ish. There were a number of unruly teenagers on this cruise, and they frequently ran around the decks and inside passageways until 1:00 a.m. Several people complained and I actually had to call security one night. Apparently, their parents were not interested in supervising them. These kids really detracted from the cruise experience and many people were complaining about them.
EMBARKATION: Went pretty smoothly. One piece of luggage did not arrive at the cabin with the others; after a few hours, we received a notice that we had to report to Deck 1 security. The luggage had been flagged for having scissors. They had us open the suitcase and show them the scissors, which were small. They were deemed "safe" and within policy, and they gave us permission to take the suitcase to our cabin. I was not irritated in the least for the inconvenience. In fact, I was relieved that they were checking closely.
DINING: The Windjammer Cafe served its usual: salad bar, Mediterranean food, hot buffet, hamburgers/hot dogs, and dessert bar. We had sailed on the Enchantment in 2009, and the food choices seemed to be less this time, but were good nevertheless. I am a vegan, and choices were extremely limited. One day they had a number of choices; other days there were very few and they could definitely improve the food selection.
Room service: We ordered juice and fruit one morning. It arrived right on time and was fresh.
Dining room: We were unable to get MyTime Dining, but did get a table for two by the window at the first seating. Service was terrific and the food was as well. No complaints whatsoever. The choices are standard; nothing exotic, but we didn't have a bad meal. Again, more vegetarian/vegan choices would be an improvement.
Eating choices are a bit limited, especially compared to the newer ships and the higher classes of Royal Caribbean ships. The grill in the Solarium has a few choices other than hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza, but there is no afternoon tea or snack with extensive choices like you will get on larger RCI ships.
OUR CABIN: We were in a junior suite, cabin 8110, which is near the elevator and the Internet cafe. That is a convenient location, although there was quite a bit of noise at times that sounded like people running and stomping above us. When we checked it out, we saw nothing and we never did figure out where the noise came from. The cabin was spacious and comfortable with plenty of storage. Linens were crisp and luxurious. The balcony was room with enough room for chairs, a table, and a chaise lounge. The bathroom was just "okay" -- plenty of room and storage, but the shower curtain smelled so bad that we had to request another one, and there was no water pressure so they had to replace something to make it work.
THE SHIP: The ship is comfortable but is looking very dated. A number of areas look worn and rust is visible in quite a few places. The carpet in public areas was stained. The public restrooms were frequently dirty and smelly. The lounges and other public areas are kept at an extremely low temperature. We spoke with several people who encountered plumbing issues in their cabins and often the hallways smelled like sewage. The public restrooms were often plugged up and had a terrible smell. This experience definitely caused us to wish we were on a newer ship.
ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was run-of-the-mill, so we skipped the production shows, jugglers, and comedians in the headliner shows. Bernie Martini, at the piano bar in the Schooner Lounge, was fantastic, as were the Rosario Strings and the Evergreen Trio.
SHOPPING: The shops offered the usual choices. The two gentleman "pushing" jewelry in the shops were rude and unresponsive, and rolled their eyes at me because I told them I didn't need to spend $400 on a watch.
CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES: We did not travel with children.
ITINERARY: Loved it! We sailed from Baltimore, had a day at sea, spent two days in Bermuda, and a day each in Boston and Newport, Rhode Island. This itinerary was really fantastic and had a great combination of days at sea and different types of ports. It was an 8-night itinerary with three sea days. More time in Boston would be nice -- we disembarked at 8:30 a.m. and had to be back on board by 3:30 p.m. Tender service in Newport was very slow in the morning but seemed to work well as the day went on.
DISEMBARKATION: Quick and easy! We were called 10 minutes before our designated time and found our luggage right away. We had a good deal of luggage and only two porters were assigned to the terminal, so my husband was furious that we had to walk quite a distance in the heat with our luggage.
OVERALL: The combination of great itinerary, great service, and great food made this cruise quite enjoyable. In spite of the few glitches (plumbing issues and a few unfriendly staff members) and the worn, dated ship, we had a good cruise. The ship goes into dry dock in December for two weeks and we can only hope that they improve the plumbing and some of the worn areas. If you have sailed on the newer, larger, ships, this might be a bit of a disappointment, so adjusting expectations would be a good idea.