We work to plan family vacations that are interesting for my husband and myself (50+ year olds) and also fun for our children (who are in their 30s) and their children (2-one year olds, 1-three year year old, and 2-five year olds). This year we selected Enchantment of the Seas, out of Baltimore, mostly because we thought a cruise would be easy for the younger children and only 3 of our party would be required to fly. So a year in advance, we booked 3 grand suites, one for each family, two of these suites adjoined. All 11 of us took a "pinky" swear to hold these dates. Next time I would definitely purchase the "cruise insurance", there were some iffy moments.
Leaving from Baltimore was as easy as noted in many reviews. They were especially helpful with the luggage, picking it up from our cars before we parked. Parking was $15 per day and it took 2 cars and one truck to get all of us and our luggage to the port. We had a ton of luggage, 6 adults and 5 children require a lot of clothing and other accessories when cruising for 9 days. Luckily there is no luggage limit on the Enchantment! Suite guests are now permitted to bring 2 bottles of wine or champagne, unfortunately we packed this extra wine in our luggage and this caused a delay in bringing our bags up to our suite. My husband had to go to deck 1 and retrieve them. We should have just carried it on through security. For our cruise there was a problem with the sea pass cards and when we arrived at our suite we couldn't open the door. Our card was replaced quickly.
As we boarded the ship the first people we saw were the staff from the children's Oceans Adventure programs. They put arm bands on each of the children so they could be easily identified and they explained the programs they offered. We then headed off to the Windjammer for lunch. Throughout our entire cruise, the Windjammer is the only area on the ship that ever seemed crowded. We circled until we found a couple of tables and checked out the food. We have vegans, vegetarians and children who mostly like french fries and pasta with butter in our group and everyone found things they liked to eat. For beverages the kids liked the fruit punch and milk and I was happy to find that unsweetened iced tea was available. We did not purchase a soda package, but the family with the most kids did purchase a juice package. We did purchase 17 bottles of wine to accompany dinners and it turned out to be 5 too many. We carried those 5 bottles home with us.
We all thought our suites were wonderful with enough storage space for that ton of luggage we brought with us. We had requested "pack and plays" for two of the suites, they fit nicely and were in great condition. My daughter brought a small folding cot to expand the sleeping areas in their suite. This worked out beautifully and the kids actually argued about who got to sleep on the cot. Our balconies were huge, but the dividers could not be removed, we had hoped to create an outdoor space for the children and that was not possible. We loved the suites and all of the perks that came with them, the robes, nice bathroom soaps, the special seating at shows and the afternoon cheese and dessert trays. But the best perk of all was the concierge's lounge with cocktail's before dinner, the snacks and breakfast foods and that amazing coffee machine. We visited the lounge every single day (sometimes twice) of the cruise. Reyno(our concierge)scheduled our excursions and Cabanas on Labadee. He made it all so easy.
We enjoyed My Fair Lady dining room for many, many (breakfast, lunch & dinner)meals. Because there were so many of us and we had 2 one-year olds we always had a table to ourselves. We thought the food was good and they adjusted quickly to our special needs (vegetarian offerings and buttered pasta). One of our 1-year olds likes hard boiled eggs and lentil soup and they had it ready for him every night. As soon as we arrived at our table Jay our waiter had fruit salad ready for the all of the children. My five-year old grandson preferred the Windjammer and my daughter discovered that they put out salsa, guacamole and chips in the afternoon. This was a huge hit with out group! But mostly we found the Windjammer crowded and difficult to maneuver.
I used the gym one morning and a treadmill was immediately available. It was a great experience working out as you look over the ocean. My daughter-in-law took a spin class and found it challenging but excellent. She thought the instuctor was outstanding and pushed the group very hard. We played bingo twice, the bingo "caller" was great! He worked very hard to make the game entertaining, as we lost every game.
To communicate on the ship we brought walkie talkies(that were recommended in another review) with us, each family had one and we had fun using them during the first part the cruise. They worked everywhere on the ship and even at the ports.
We tried to attend the shows and events every day. The Magic Show (David Haines)was amazing and then we followed up with "how the magic happens" lecture, also very good. Do not miss this show,some members of group did and they still regret it. It was great for the kids too. We enjoyed the production shows and Tony B. too. The last day of our cruise was on Superbowl Sunday and the final show was moved to 2:30 in the afternoon. It was fantastic! The reason I mention this is because we thought Tony B. was an outstanding addition to this final show...we enjoyed him there actually better than during his show and saw what an enormous talent he is. The final show included the Royal Caribbean dancers and singers and at one point they launched huge balloons over the audience. It was an exciting and fun show and of course the kids grabbed balloons. There were late night comedians that were promoted as "adult" shows that the 30 somethings in our group attended and enjoyed.
We thought that RCI-EOS did a great job with the Superbowl. It was broadcast live in multiple venues and in all staterooms. In the Orpheum theater they provided football stadium type food.. hot dogs and chips etc. I thought this was such a nice touch. We watched the Superbowl in our suite, but ran down to the Orpheum to see the half-time show on the big screen. So fun!