This cruise was a celebration of our 20th anniversary. My husband is new to cruising, and I have only cruised once prior. His only requirement for me to get him on the boat was that Key West had to be a port of call. My younger brother and his wife of 20 months decided to come along on the cruise and celebrate with us.
I searched NCL, Carnival, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. My prior cruise was with RCCL on this same ship, and again they turned out to have the best deal and the length of cruise we were searching for. Our itinerary had us stopping at Key West, Cozumel, and Belize. We booked through the RCCL website and I found their site easier to use than NCL or Carnival. During the year the price dropped and we were able to switch our room around to the lower price. I also had a savings certificate as a Crown and Anchor Member that helped the cost, so this cruise was extremely affordable.
We flew out of Charlotte Douglas Airport on a direct flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Although we live closer to Raleigh/Durham Airport, we could not get a direct flight, so driving the extra hour to Charlotte actually was the best for us. I made these reservations myself and saved money compared to what was quoted from the cruise line. Our trip was non-eventful and smooth, no delays. After we picked up our luggage we saw some RCC staff folks and they told us to go right on to the boat and that we could go ahead and board although it was earlier than our ticket booklet stated. We caught a cab on our own which also saved us money compared to if the cruise line took us to the port.
Check in was smooth and we were able to board and have lunch immediately in the Windjammer. We changed and immediately checked out the pool deck. This area has been expanded with the lengthening of the ship in the past year, and it made quite a difference from my last trip. Much more room to sunbathe, another pool, another bar, overall a vast improvement.
After checking out the upper decks we went to our room. We decided to save money and selected an interior cabin. Our cabin was in the new section of the ship and was perfect for folks that do not plan to spend their cruise in their cabin. The new shower and bathroom layout in this section was wonderful compared to the showers in the other rooms on this floor. The old section has shower curtains and the sink is in the corner where the new section has solid sliding doors in an oval, which was much better for folks like us who are not twigs! We were missing our pool towels and it took several requests to receive them, but we finally did. Other than that, the folks servicing the rooms did a fine job keeping things tidy and clean.
Overall the food was good, but not quite as good as the last time I sailed on this ship. The Windjammer had received some much needed updates, and although it seemed to loose some seating space it gained food selection. There were a few more stations for food choices. The food was good, although not exceptional, and there was plenty of it. They had a made to order bar for eggs and omelets in the morning which was very popular, and although you had to wait it was worth it. We selected the 2nd seating dining at 8:30 pm and were glad we did this as we were always busy right up until time to eat! The service was very good and I had some very good meals, but there were a few that were only so-so. We wanted to go to Chops Grill but we enjoyed our seatmates so much we decided to eat in the dining room every night. However, we heard rave review from everyone who ate at Chops, and we will make sure to do this next time. The biggest comment we heard about Chops was that it was hard to get reservations, so do this early! We listed our anniversary date as a celebration when we purchased our tickets, but nothing was ever done by the cruise folks. I was kinda disappointed in that as I thought maybe they would bring us a special dessert or something.
We decided to do our own excursions and in Key West we visited the known establishments such as Sloppy Joes and Capt. Tony's. It was a relaxing day and beautiful weather. The only drawback is that the ship departed the port at 2 pm, so you didn't have much time to do anything. It would have been nice if it was there a few hours longer. The next day we arrived in Cozumel and the ship docked there all day until the evening. The jewelry shops there served tequila, which I thought was hilarious. I did not try any, but our seatmates did and had a marvelous time doing it! We enjoyed people watching more than anything! The last stop was Cococay, their private island. I was not expecting to enjoy myself and was pleasantly surprised! We enjoyed the water and it was a great place for snorkeling, relaxing, sunbathing, etc. We swam for a while and then found a few palm trees and took advantage of the lounge chairs that are all over the island and just relaxed.
The activities were a hoot. If you are traveling as a couple or with a group of couples you have to check out the Quest and the Love and Marriage games. They are a hoot! We never laughed so hard! The Quest is a hilarious scavenger-hunt type of game. They also had karaoke several nights and we were surprised at how good (and how bad!) our fellow passengers could sing! In the day, they had the sexy legs contest for the men (my brother won Most Muscular!) and the belly flop competition. We also tried out the casino and bingo. The casino is packed at night, and we won a little at the beginning. I wish the casino area was larger as it was sometimes rather hard to maneuver through it. We only played bingo once, but that was enough to win us a free cruise! They also had nightly shows and they were pretty good. You could also find whatever lounge scene you preferred, with choices like the Schooner Bar that featured an awesome piano player/singer, the Boleros Lounge with Latin music and great Mojitos, and the Viking Crown Lounge where we danced to disco although the dance floor was rather tight at times.
We all worked out several days on the ship and I have to say the Shipshape Fitness Center and Spa was nicely done. Go early as the machines fill up fast. I went back for a fitness/health evaluation, which ended up being a sales job for some expensive vitamins. This was rather irritating, so unless you are willing to part with $600 or like having a sales pitch on your vacation, then I suggest passing on any of the evaluation stuff.
Disembarking was not as smooth. One thing that RCCL needs to get a better handle on is the baggage pickup when you disembark. Our bags were all over the place and you just have to wade through rows and rows of bags. It took us 20 minutes to find one of our bags and we have yet to figure out their rhyme or reason on how they put them out in the first place. Once we cleared customs, we were able to easily catch a cab to the airport. Ft. Lauderdale Airport was a nightmare! They lost our luggage tags and left us standing there until I finally raised a ruckus to get some help. I don't know if there is any solution to their issues but just be prepared and allow ample time between disembarking and your flight time.
Overall we were very pleased with our trip on Enchantment and will sail again, especially since we won another cruise! I would recommend this cruise as a value and a good cruise for couples in their late 20's-50's or those new to cruising as we are.