To escape the winter we often take a cruise in the Eastern Caribbean, but this time we wanted to avoid flying to the cruise port. We drove for 6 hours to Baltimore and stayed overnight in a hotel that included parking for the duration of the cruise and a shuttle to and from the port of Baltimore. Unfortunately the hotel assigned us a very early 8 am shuttle to the port, where we had to wait for almost 3 hours for check-in in the terminal as we were merely Gold RCI cruisers. Once we were on the Enchantment of the Seas, we were delighted with the renovated ship. We dined in the Windjammer, then by 1:30 pm were allowed into our cabin, where our luggage appeared within an hour. Our ocean view cabin was one of the four created back in 2005 from rooms for navigation. Cabin 7010 is much larger than the average ocean view, comprising the area of a balcony cabin,but with the space, where a balcony would be, added on to the interior space. On the cold days as we sailed down and up the coast we were happy that we had no balcony but had instead a very spacious cabin. Our cabin steward Ali Muddin was wonderful, keeping the room super clean and us comfortable.
The service on the Enchantment was superb, whether in the dining areas, guest services, or pool. We found the food in the Windjammer to have great variety and good flavor. My Fair Lady dining room, where we ate all suppers at "my time" dining, offered an extensive menu of nicely prepared entrees. If our table partners were not enthralled with their selections, the waitstaff was happy to bring them something else. Emanuel and Dennis at table 85 were very attentive waiters and tried very hard to satisfy our requests.
The nightly entertainment in the Orpheum Theater varied in quality. The magicians David and Abi Haines were fantastic! We enjoyed the comedian Derrick Cameron very much. The singers and dancers of the production shows tried their best with very mediocre material. It appeared that musical selections for the shows were chosen mostly for their cheap copyright fees. One male singer named Chris had an exceptionally beautiful voice, which often was wasted on banal tunes. How I wished that he could have had his own recital of opera arias. I would have liked to hear classical music offered daily in the form of string quartets and vocalists. The talent was there, but the repertoire was lacking. How sad on 3 formal nights that older couples in long gowns and tuxedos had no waltz music from the classical period with which to dance! Instead country western twangs resounded in the centrum.
Of the activities on board, I went to a jewelry class, but 2 minutes before the class was to begin, the instructor had already run out of kits. Other people were quite disappointed and complained to no avail. The trivia game involving science was run by a crew member, whose primary language was not English and whose major was not any form of science. His "official" answers were not correct, but it's only a game! Our favorite on board activity was swimming in the balmy waters of the solarium and reading on the highly-contested lounge chairs. Reading on a 12 day voyage would be greatly enhanced, if the ship hadn't eliminated most of the library, now a mere "Book Corner."
The best aspect of this cruise was, of course, enjoying the Caribbean ports. The ship's excursion to Tortola's Cane Garden Beach was very pleasant, as the the turquoise waves splashed on the very soft sand. Antigua's Halcyon Cove beach was a beautiful sunny swimming excursion also. On St. Martin only a 15 minute walk turning left from the dock brought us to a nice beach. By the time we reached St. Thomas, I needed a break from the glorious sunshine and nasty sunburn, so I strolled the many jewelry store of Havensight near the dock. In San Juan we really enjoyed the El Junque Rainforest excursion for the lush foliage, waterfall, mountain terrain, and informative guide. Labadee, Haiti was a beautiful private beach area, complete with turquoise waters, swaying palms, many lounge chairs, and barbeque lunch.
Returning to Baltimore the seas were rough one evening with what Captain Gus called "ocean motion" caused by a weather system near Cape Hatteras. The rest of the cruise the sailing was exceedingly smooth, and for us near the bow of the ship, nearly imperceptible. Disembarkation was very easy, with one half hour wait in the theater, and quick processing through immigration and luggage retrieval. Our hotel shuttle came as promised on time.
We had a pleasant cruise with great service on a beautiful RCI ship, but it obviously did not have the classical music of a Princess or HAL ship, nor the haute cuisine of Celebrity or HAL. A nice vacation for the price.