Cruised on the Enchantment on 1/5. This was our 2nd time on the Enchantment (and probably the last since the ship is being replaced by the Grandeur).
Day One - Left home in NJ around 10:30 and arrived at the port around noon and the line to get in the terminal was very long. Apparently, there was an outbreak of Noro on the previous cruise and they were disinfecting the ship. Since we had a Junior Suite -- Cabin 8116, we went to priority check-in. Took about 5 minutes to check in and we were on our way to the ship. Loved the new Centrum. Christmas decorations were still up and looked very festive. Made our way up to the new Park Cafe. There were only about 3 other couples there. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch (great roast beef sandwich and made to order salad) and they actually gave you a bag of potato chips! After lunch, checked out the WJ -- it was packed. Guess most people didn't realize the Park Cafe was available. Too cold to be out on deck, so we found our way to our stateroom. Since we had a JS on our previous cruise, we could see that there this cabin had definitely been updated. There was new carpeting, new large flat screen TV, new coffee table and completely new bathroom. Wonderful improvements. The only odd thing IMHO is that the towels are now on a bar at the rear of the bathtub/shower. If you didn't aim the showerhead correctly, your towels got wet. Muster drill was at 3:30 and it was very short and sweet. You now have to get your name checked off by the muster team -- so don't hide in your cabin. Stopped in the bar in the Solarium where DH got the beer cooler bag. Pretty good deal -- you get the cooler bag and 8 beers. After that, you take the bag to any lounge, they fill it and one beer is free. Luggage was very late arriving. At 6:30, we went out in the main hallway and saw our bags had finally arrived. But -- no one in sight to deliver them. We retried our own luggage and took it to our stateroom.
We always avoid the MDR on the first night since it is a hassle with everyone trying to find their tables. We made a reservation at Chops for 8:00 p.m. Prior to dinner, went to the Viking Crown for a couple of adult beverages and we had the entire place to ourselves. There was a playoff game in progress, and you could watch it on the big screen through the windows. Great picture. Dinner at Chops was fabulous. The filet melted in your mouth. Very few people dining there that evening. Large portions with the side dishes being served family style.
Day 2 - decided to try Park Cafe for breakfast. Again -- hardly anyone there. They have a nice menu with breakfast sandwiches, fruit, pastries yogurt, cereal and a bagel bar with a lot of toppings. I especially liked the premade cups with fruit, yogurt and granola. Still a little cold out on deck, so we played some trivia games (very popular on this cruise), checked out the on board shops and wandered around the ship. Lunch was at the WJ. It was just ok. They did have staff at the buffet serving you -- you told them what you wanted, and they put it on your plate. Apparently, there were taking extra precautions because of the Noro the previous week. By Day 3, you were able to serve yourself. Watched the playoff games later in the day. Since the cruise was out of Baltimore, there were quite a lot of Raven and Redskin fans on the ship. Happy Raven fans -- disappointed Redskin fans. It was the 1st formal night. Again -- no one in the Viking Crown. We had My Time Dining and had premade a reservation for 8:00. Arrived at the MDR, promptly were seated at a table for 2. We were right in front of the service station and were bumped into quite a bit by waiters. Our waiter and assistant were ok. New menus are ok -- some good / some bad. DH was disappointed when he was told there was no escargot. They were serving scallops instead. Tried these -- not good.
Day 3 -- FINALLY warm weather. Were able to secure a seat at the pool. Pool games going on and by around 11:00 it most chairs were taken. Spent the majority of the day sunning, relaxing and reading at the pool. Went to MDR for dinner and got seated at a different table than the previous night. This time -- great waiter and assistant. Our waiter, Geraldine always had a smile on her face and made recommendations on the best things to order. Assistant waiter, Roana, was also great. These girls had quite a number of tables, but everything we ordered arrived very quickly and was always hot. After dinner -- tried our luck in the casino. Turns out it wasn't good luck. However, I did win a price in the raffle for a free entry into the Blackjack tournament. Since neither of us plays Blackjack, we gave the entry away.
Day 4 -- First port of call -- San Juan. Arrived in San Juan around 2:00 and they were letting people off the ship around 2:30. Walked around town a little. Checked out a few shops and the Sheraton (quite a few cruise passengers in there). Found a CVS and purchased a few things we forgot to bring. The CVS was packed with passengers. Then went to Senor Frogs for the requisite margarita and nachos. Always a fun place. It was happy hour, so you got an extra shot in your margarita. Since our last trip to Puerto Rico, they seemed to have cleaned up the port area. It is now very modern and clean. However, quite a few homeless on the streets asking for $$$. Back to the ship for dinner. The MDR wasn't very crowded since a lot of passengers were probably off the ship. Got a table with Geraldine and Roana again -- yay. We ended up getting a table with them the rest of the cruise. When you check in for MTD, they did ask us if we wanted the same wait staff.
Day 5 -- St. Thomas. When we awoke, we were already docked in St. Thomas. After a quick breakfast in the WJ -- headed off the ship. Took a cab ($5/each) to Marriott Morningstar. We have stayed at this hotel previously and loved the views and beach. Rented chairs for $10/each and spent most of the day on the beach. There is a beach bar where you can get lunch and drinks. Water was warm and beautiful. Stopped and shopped at Havensight on the way back to the ship. I needed to get a new flash card for my camera (paid $10 for a card that would have cost me $5 back home). Did end up getting a beautiful topaz necklace in one of the shops. Bought the requisite souvenir t-shirts and returned back to the ship. Second formal night (there were 3 on this cruise since it was a 9 day trip). Again tried luck in the casino and came out about $40 ahead. Didn't see too many big winners in the casino on this cruise.
Day 6 -- Dominican Republic -- Opted to stay on the ship since we weren't sure what we wanted to do at this port. As it turned out, we weren't the only ones to stay on the ship. You needed to take tenders in this port. The few people I spoke to that got off the ship said they walked around for about 5 minutes and came right back. Spent most of the day at the pool.
Day 7 -- Labadee. We had reserved a cabana on Nellie's Beach. Got off the ship and were driven in a golf cart to our home for the day. Great cabana right on the water. There was a cooler with ice and 3 bottles of Evian, plenty of towels and 2 floats for the water. Having a cabana was wonderful. We had a great attendant who made sure we had everything we wanted. He would come around and get our drink orders. Labadee didn't seem that crowded until the Independence of the Seas arrived -- then it got crowded. There was a special lunch provided for people in the cabanas (and suite passengers) at Barefoot Beach. Great lunch -- ribs, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, seafood, fruit skewers. There was a very long line for lunch. We had lunch with 2 women off the Independence. The one woman had been on over 150 cruises! She was from Canada and cruised 10+ times each year with many of them being BTB. Lucky her! We then spent most of the day floating on our rafts in the beautiful water. Checked out the shopping area but didn't buy anything.
The remaining 2 sea days were uneventful. Played a lot of trivia -- watched the pool games, played bingo (didn't win, of course), napped and relaxed.
Embarkation -- very easy and quick. We got off the ship around 9:00 a.m. There was a long line for customs, but once we were through, immediately found our luggage. We were home in NJ by 11:00 a.m.
We didn't attend any of the shows. Heard that they were not that good. We were going to see the comedian, but after watching part of his show on the TV, decided it wasn't worth the time seeing him.
New Menu -- Nice change. The cold soups were wonderful. Desserts were just ok. If you couldn't find anything you liked, you could always order off the "classic" menu (offered everyday).
Windjammer -- always found a table (even though the ship sailed full). However, it is the same food every day. They need to mix it up a little bit. The Park Cafe is a great addition for a change of pace.
Big screen at the pool -- very nice and good quality. But I don't think they need to run the same tired music videos over and over each day.
Enhancements -- loved the Centrum -- the R Bar is very nice. Touch screens on every floor (giving you access to deck plans, Compass, etc.) is great.
We did check out our bill on day 5 and saw a mini-bar charge for $22. Since we didn't take anything from the minimart, went down to Guest Services and got it taken off. Two days later when the minibar attendant came to our room to check our fridge, we told him we were charged and never used anything. He did double check and wrote the room number down wrong. But -- there wasn't a hassle getting this off of our bill.
I would like to see more of an interactive TV in the rooms. You couldn't check your bill on the TV, there was no map of where the ship was, no room service menu, etc.
I will miss the Enchantment -- but look forward to trying out the Grandeur.