RCI Enchantment of the Seas
Bermuda, Boston and Newport
23-31 August 2012
22-23 Aug. To the Ship.
We left Newport News, VA at 9:45AM for Baltimore. We drove on old highways through rural landscapes with little traffic. It was our second time to cruise out of Baltimore. We had no problems and arrived mid-afternoon at Hyatt Place, Lithicum, MD where we stayed for one night and parked the car free for the duration of the cruise. The hotel was very good and the people were extremely helpful. Rudy Tuesdays was a walk accross the parking lot. Shuttle transport was $5.00 per person each way to the pier and return. The drive was about 20 minutes. The driver gave my two camera bags TLC while loading them into the van. The van took us right to the luggage train loading bags for the ship. We checked all bags except my camera bags. We arrived at the pier about 11:14 and were on board by 11:40.
Packing for this cruise had its good points-no airline fees or restrictions, and its bad points-laundry service was too expensive to consider so we had to pack for eight full days. The result was to take one large suitcase, one large garment bag, our usual carry on bag, a small duffel bag for shoes, my large camera bag w/laptop and my new small camera bag, all FULL.
23-30 Aug. The Ship
Entrance. We entered on deck 4, the public center of the ship. The place was like a medieval trade fair. Everyone wanted to sell us something. From tux rentals to beverage packages, everything was for sale. We were with another couple who were good friends. The guys sat while the ladies went to the main dining room to co-ordinate seating for early dining. When they got back, we went to the buffet, the Windjammer, for lunch. Getting a table and working the buffet, while dealing with multiple carry on bags was a little bit of a chore.
The cabin. We got to our ocean view cabin on deck 3 at 1:30PM. It was the smallest cabin we have ever had, but it was efficiently laid out and when our luggage arrived, we quickly found a place for everything. There were lots of drawers and shelves to augment our limited closet space. We were pleased to find two electrical outlets. We are addicted to our electrical devices. We had chargers for a computer, two e-readers, three cameras and a cell phone. The beds were almost too soft. Temperature control was iffy at times. Even the little bathroom was designed with care, but it was strictly a one person at a time space. The shower tended to flow out into the bathroom, the shower controls were a little tricky, but the hot water never ran out
Public rooms. They were clean but noisy. Everything was loud. Music was always loud. Announcements of sales were loud. Noise from one area carried over to other areas. There were times when I wished for a nice shotgun with which to blast every speaker on the ship. There was no place to be quiet. Even if a quiet area had been available, I doubt if either of us could relax. Chairs in the public rooms were distinctly uncomfortable. The auditorium did have comfortable theater style seats, but there were very few seats in the place which gave a clear view of the stage. The slant was too shallow to allow one to see over the person in front and the seats were directly behind the ones in front. Staggering the seats would have helped. We went to one movie in the auditorium. The sound system did not provide a clear sound. Every word was muddy. The screen was not reflective white screen so the dominant color was gray
Dining. On most of our cruises we preferred to eat all meals in the dining room unless time was critical. On the Enchantment, our preference was to eat in the Windjammer except for dinner. The menu in the DR was the same everyday for breakfast and lunch and the service was slow. The food in the WJ was good. Wait service was good most of the time, but finding a table for breakfast on port days was a challenge. The food was good. The DR service was very good. When we started the cruise, our friends were set for traditional early seating and we were set for late seating. By dinner time the first night, we were set for early seating, but at a different table from our friends. By dinner the second night, we were at the same table. Memorable dishes included Vidalia Onion Tart, Strawberry Pavlova, and most of the beef dishes. Stay away from the pasta unless you like pasta cooked in unsalted water. The omelets in the WJ were pretty good but no feta cheese. The omelets and the scrambled eggs were a little on the dry side, but the salsa perked the eggs right up. This is the first cruise I've been on where the food in the buffet was as good or better than the food in the DR. Final note. The DR was as noisy as the rest of the ship. Buffet was quieter.
Service. At the front desk, at the bars, in the cabin and dining service was very good. My coke came to the table soon after I sat down in the DR.
Entertainment. This ship had the best entertainment from first show to last show. No other ship, that we have been on, even comes close. The singers, especially, were outstanding. Each singer has sufficient range to sing the music as written and they sang well. From pop to rock to Broadway they did it all. The other contract acts were also very good.
23-29 Aug. The Ports.
Baltimore. In addition to being the Port of embarkation and disembarkation, Baltimore has some sites worth seeing. The Inner Harbor is interesting. Little Italy near by has some world class Italian food, and for history buffs Ft. McHenry rates a look.
Going through security to board was just like going through security at an airport. If you have any love of ports, you will want to be on deck for sail away. Ft. McHenry is just one of the sites we passed. There is a red, white and blue marker buoy just short of the bridge which marks the spot where the British ship holding Francis Scott Key was anchored during the battle for Ft. McHenry. Baltimore has a strong connection to the War of 1812 and this is the Bicentennial year for the war.
Bermuda. We anchored at Kings Wharf which has changed a lot since we first saw it in 1980. It has adding shopping to fleece the tourists. During the two days we were there, the sky was filled with dramatic billowy clouds and the sky was deep blue. Unfortunately the temperature was in the high eighties and the humidity was making the news. A two day bus/ferry pass ($20 each on the pier) got us around to Hamilton and the beaches. The ferry to St. George does not run on weekends. Horseshoe Bay Beach was a disappointment. Hordes of people and hot water beat the scenery. There is a shuttle starting at 11:00AM which will take you down hill for $1 and uphill for $2. It is a good deal. The Royal Navy Cemetery was a beautiful spot to end our first day. It is right across the road from sea glass beach.
Boston. If you have no interest in history or education, you may have trouble figuring out why you want to stop in Boston. If you do like history, this is the place for you. We got off the ship in the light rain and walked a block to the shuttle which takes you to the hop on hop of trolley and the tour that covers many of the historical high lights of down town Boston. For $20 per person, it is one of the best excursions in Boston and one of the cheapest. We got the trolley and stopped at Old North Church, the Paul Revere House and the USS Constitution. The only thing original on the ship is the Keel, but she looks the same as she did way back when. We terminated our tour at Quincy Market where we had lunch. The rain stopped and the heat and humidity were rising.
Newport, RI. Homes of the rich and famous and the greatest number of colonial homes in any city in the country. The colonial homes belong to and are maintained by an historic trust. They are leased for residential use. We took the trolley tour which makes no stops and that is where we found out about the Point--the neighborhood with all the restored colonial homes. After the trolley tour and a light lunch, we walked through the Point and then back to the ship.
RCI had the best iced tea afloat. It is made fresh not from syrup.
The beverage package is a little expensive ($57), but it is literally all you can drink and I can drink a lot of soda. I think they lost money on me.
You get no chocolates at night.
Ice is free, in your cabin, but you have to ask for it and it takes up valuable desk top space.
If you get blood on your bed linens for any reason, they get changed.
Like all other ships we have been on, you can get fresh towels every day if you drop used towels on the floor. You might as well change the towels after every shower. There is no place to hang them to dry.
There really is no hand lotion in the cabin. Bring you own.
We escaped political ads for a week.
Cruising with friends is fun and good for the soul.
31 Aug. Disembarkation. It was easy.