I'm from Bethlehem GA and this was my first cruise experience. I shared this trip with my husbad of 12 years as well as his 15 year old brother and our 12 year old neice. We decided to drive down to Cape Canaveral Florida and stay at a hotel the night before embarkation so that we were good and rested for the first day. The hotel was Country Inn & Suites by Calson located at 9009 Austronaut Boulevard, Cape Canaveral and they offered a Park and Cruise deal which gave us a Family Suite which included a semi-private kids room furnished with a set of bunkbeds, a third twin bed and a 32 inch flat screen mounted on the wall. The suite and the week of parking for our truck at the hotels extended parking lot was only $152.00 after taxes. This price is well worth the ammenities (which includes a clean handicap accessible pool with lift, whrlpool with handicap lift, a satisfying breakfast and a roundtrip shuttle ride) and the parking considering you will have to pay at the least $15.00 a day for parking at the cruise terminal.
Even as a first time cruiser I found the check in to be very smooth and painless. We showed our proof of identity (photo ID's & birth certificates for the adults and just a birth certificate for anyone under 15) and took a seat for roughly 15 minutes prior to being boarded on the ship.
Our bags were tagged by Royal Caribbean employees and we did not see them again until we were able to get inside our room a 1:30 p.m. This was a bit inconvienent because they refused to check our garment bag due to it not closing on the bottom. We had to carry the garment bag around with us for 2 hours until we were allowed into our stateroom. Regardless of his we made our way to the Windjammer Cafe` for some lunch. Pleasantly surprised with the food options on the first day at this buffet but as the week went on the food started to morph into a left over surprise. Some of the different dishes were combined to make a new "salad". Though I can appreciate not being wasteful, some things are not very good when combined 2 days after original preparation. With that being said, I cannot say enough wonderful things about the main dining room "My Fair Lady". The food, environment and the staff produced an experience I would comfortably pay $100 or more for in an Atlanta resturant. The waiting staff (specifically Nilesh and is his assistants) at table 195 was entertaining, informative and the best server I have ever had. His recommendations were perfect, his accomodations were gracious and I cannot imagine a better experience. Had we known that it would be so great we would have went the first night as well but we did dine in the main dining for the remainder of the cruise. However breakfast was always taken in the Windjammer because they did boast an omelete station, pankcakes and thick & fluffy waffles. More tha adequate breakfast experience.
The stateroom was a balcony room and 100% ejoyable for the little bit of time we spent in there. The bed was not as good as home but rarely anything is. The couch folded out to a comfortable & sizable bed. TV was flat screen and the movies offered were new and mostly ones that we hav not seen. Everytime w left the room for any meals or activities, we returned to a freshly cleaned room with great towel animals wearing the sunglasses we had left on the desk, reading or hlding the remote and being cuddled by h stufed bunny brought by our niece. The room attendant was awesome and polite whe we ran into her. Theonly negative thing I can say is the shower is a bit snug for the more curvacious women like myself. A little bit more room would make a world of difference.
The ship had a couple of bars on the main pool deck and it was more laid back than I had expected. There were more older couples than people our age. This was fine for me as my husbnd and I are not party people. The physical activities offered on this ship are few and far in between. With the lack of drunken masses and the activites being just as lacking, this i why I say this is a ship for the older crowd that can appreciate the quite, laid back and more sophicated experience the Enchantment of the Seas has to offer.
My whole crew love CoCo Cay but we wre less than impressed by Nassau. When you first step onto the port at Nassau you are bombarded by locals trying to sale you "cheap cheap excursions" which basically boils down to a taxi tour to Paradise Island. The water at Paradise Island was beautiful however the walk to beach was riddled with used condoms and more locals offering drug sales.
I would not recommend Nassau as a destination but CoCo Cay is a must. Royal Caribbean was a great first time cruise but I think that my next cruise will be on a dfferent ship to see what else the line has to offer. Royal Caribbean has my loyalty, no reason to change what works!!