Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review by pvpollock: Ease of Baltimore Departure Eases Expectations
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Ease of Baltimore Departure Eases Expectations
We have a one year old daughter and live one hour from Baltimore, thus the idea of taking 5 bags of baby crap by plane to Miami or by trunk to Maryland left us at the Baltimore Cruise Terminal. We've been on several cruises on new and old ships but are not stuck up when it comes to expectations. We knew that we would get lackluster ports (Port Canaveral, Nassau, CocoCay) and an older/smaller ship compared to the luxury megaships going to more beautiful Caribbean ports leaving from Florida. Here are my observations, hope they help you make the right decision for you.
Departing from the Baltimore port is hectic in that the port/staff handle like two departures a week compared to busier ports. Dropping baggage and passengers off and going to park was relatively easy (you park literally steps away for $15/day) but the line was long at 11:30AM and moving slow. Luckily we had my father with us and they have a separate handicapped line so we snuck through within 15 minutes. More This was the week before Spring Break, so there were few children and a lot of 30-55 yr olds with your obligatory seniors as well. Leaving from Baltimore you had a lot of locals and PA/Pittsburgh folks
Our cabin was a bit larger than the tiny interior rooms we've had in the past, a large picture window offers less of a "beautiful view" and more of a way to know if it's day or night (and makes the room less tomblike). With a RCL provided pack and play for the baby we had no excess room but made do. The shower was small but servicable for an average sized adult, it was a basic cruise cabin room. The steward, Isreal, was always good about freshening up the room but we didn't make many demands.
The nicest part of the ship is the Solarium, a glass enclosed pool on the 9th deck. Not only can you lounge in comfort even on cold sea days but the Park Cafe is in the rear of the complex which has good sandwiches and snacks throughout the day and late night. Of course there are people who throw a towel on a chair in the morning to save the seat to use 2 hours later. I recommend getting there earlier, its adults only but on the sea days they offer a family swim time period for the kids.
We usually eat in the main dining room every dinner because the food is much better than a buffet....why eat beef stroganoff when they're serving prime rib? The wait staff in the dining room were excellent, the head waiter made sure to find out what our daughter liked and had the staff cook baby food like mashed sweet potatoes every night. At least 8 waiters stopped nightly to dote on our daughter, they all love kids and likely miss their own. The quality of the food was good, there was never a dish I did not enjoy and like I said the selection included good beef/seafood/etc that isn't found on a buffet. The few meals we ate on the buffet were OK, but the food was average and the size of the buffet was small for a cruise ship this size leaving not a lot of selection and not enough seating at most meals. We snuck more than one lunch/snack at the Park Cafe which was fast and painless. We did not pay for the Chops restaurant ($30/person), my father paid $15 for the filet served in Chops to be served in the dining room and enjoyed it.
We usually go to all the shows, some art auctions, and talks/etc but with a 1 year old we spent most of the time entertaining. The nursery was installed this winter during a refurb and offers infant care for $8/hour. Most cruiselines have kids programs that do not offer many infant options outside of Disney and RCL ships with nurseries and this is part of why we selected this cruise. We only had her in the nursery daycare for 5 hours in Nassau while I dove and my wife swam with the dolphins, they seemed capable and she was the only one in there since there was few children on a cruise a week before school has their vacation. The next week they said was slated to bring 900 children on board....ouch.
The diversions I can review are the casino which had blackjack at $6 minimum (odd amount), craps at $5 minimum and friendly dealers. My wife enjoyed the Blue Lagoon Dolphin Encounter and I dove a 1 tank dive with Bahama Divers I booked on my own (the cruise docked at 1PM, too late for most dive options). At CocoCay I dove again, a shore dive with only 3 participants led by a divemaster to 30 feet. There was an octopus, huge eagle ray, and unbelievably a 7 foot manatee that followed us for 30 minutes allowing us to pet him. It was the best dive experience to date for me and only $55 with equipment, a bargain. Cococay is nice, the buffet lunch is average, but finding a hammock to doze in during a cold March back home is what doing this cruise was all about
Overall, the ship isn't huge and is several years old but is holding together well. If you have been on cruises and have high expectations, fly to Florida and book on a new ship with crazy features like skating rinks. If you want a quick escape and the ease of a hassle free option don't hesitate if you can get a good rate Less
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