We live in Florida about 70 minutes from Port Canaveral so we have cruised to the Bahamas on Monarch of the Seas many, many times as well as several other Royal Caribbean ships. This was our first cruise on the Monarch replacement ship, Enchantment of the Seas.
We boarded about 1pm which is unusual for myself and my husband. We just happen to be running late that day. When we got on the ship we went to the buffet area and it was bombarded with people. There were no seats available and many trays of food empty. We noticed a large number of young ladies, 15 year olds, and found out later there were 380 of them onboard celebrating something. We ate a small plate of food each and went out to the pool area, having packed our bathing suits in a beach bag to change into until our room was ready and suitcases delivered to it. When we saw the pool area, which was mobbed with people, we decided to grab a drink at the bar and peruse the ship. We stood at the bar for about 15 minutes and saw the 2 bartenders wait on everyone around us but never acknowledging us. I could understand the mistake if they were crowded but the bar only had a few people standing at it.
When we finally got our drinks we went to the Solarium area. I expected something similar to the Jewel of the Seas but was greatly disappointed. There were many small bistro type tables and chairs and many less leisure chairs to relax in. The pool setup made it appear closed in and was blocked by walls and the 2 saunas. This made just about every view from a lounge chair quite annoying. We had expected to spend a lot of time in this area since our children are in their 30's and we love the peace and quite we are used to in the Solarium on other ships. We ended up leaving this area and never going back. This was probably one of the top disappointments for me.
Our room was ready when we got there and our bags were outside about 10 minutes later. Someone had played with our safe and the prongs were locked in the outside position and we could not code the safe or close it. We had to call the desk and they sent someone right out to reset it. The room was clean and more of a box shape which allowed for more walking area than you would normally find in an inside cabin. This shape was due to the room being a center room on the 7th floor, which is the area where the ship was renovated and this area inserted into the ship.
The rest of the ship seemed backwards to me. It was small, the shopping area was very narrow and uninviting, and we did not find any "great" niches anywhere on this ship. We did not attend any of the shows after missing one the first night and seeing it on the TV the next morning. It was awful, hurt my ears, and I could not bare watching more than 5 or 10 minutes of it before turning the channel. From what I was told by others, most of the shows were equally as bad with the exception of the comedian one night and the Love and Marriage show one night.
The buffet was almost always very crowded even though we went later in the morning and not during the usual early mad rush time. I was informed by someone that they had seen the "15 year old girls group" groping at the trays of food and sometimes putting things like pancakes back into the trays with their hands. The crew announced that this ship had gone through more food on this trip than ever before. Others say it was because of all the teens taking piles of food on plates and eating tiny bits, then leaving the globs of food uneaten. I must say that one morning while going past the pool area to eat breakfast in the Windjammer, I passed all the teens hanging around the pool waiting to leave on their excursion. They had plates of food lined up on the edge of the pool and were laughing and screaming as they watched all the seagulls dive into the plates, spilling food into the pool. I thought there was a policy of adult chaperones needed per every number of children, but this group apparently didn't have that.
We got off on the tender to CocoCay and walked around, sat on the beach, and shopped in the straw market. By noon, we took the tender back to the boat for lunch, knowing that it would be a disaster to try to get a meal at the beach BBQ. We found out the next day that people did not even get any food because it was gone by the time they approached the serving area. People said that the kids all cut in between people and grabbed tons of food, leaving trays empty and piles of plated food on tables uneaten.
We got off in Nassau to shop but did not go on any excursions, trying to avoid the teen mobs, not knowing which excursions they were going to be on. We walked around in the stores right next to the dock for only about 40 minutes and then got back on the boat. We wanted to be able to enjoy the pool area and relax for the day seeing that most of the people got off the ship. It was a pleasant and quiet day for us. I must say that there was virtually no waiters to take drink orders and we got most of our drinks at the bar ourselves. The few waiters there were acted like they were doing you a favor by taking your order and bringing your drink. I found this extremely unusual for Royal Caribbean staff and found this same unmotivated staff in most every location on the ship. I will add that our waiter in the dining room, Nelson, was breath of fresh air. He was kind and happy and was pleasant to be around. We never met our Head Waiter, other wise seen as the burgundy jacket guys. I know that they say these guys may be doing the behind the scenes stuff, but I find it wrong that I saw many head waiters at other tables and no one ever approached our table. In the past, the head water has always made an impression on us. The only other person to note was Mona, our room steward. She was fantastic and our room was ready very quickly, was very clean, and constantly invaded my towel animals.
We had purchase the beverage package and my advice to you is DON'T DO IT!!!!! We bought the $65 on which includes water, specialty coffee, and fresh squeezed orange juice. I drink tons of water daily and was searching the ship constantly for a single bottle of water. No one stocked it and they would not part with the larger bottles to replace the non-existent smaller ones. I was constantly sent from one bar to another to ask if they had water. Many time they would have only one and we would spend out time searching out a bottle of water for my husband at all the bar locations. As far as the specialty coffee at Latitudes, I was so excited about this and found out that the coffee they served the "package" people consists of 2 coffee pots brewed at some point during the day. These pots are left beside the coffee machine and you never get the fresh brewed delicious coffee you expect. Lastly, there is no fresh squeezed orange juice area like you find in the entrance to the Windjammer like on other ships.
In summary, The Good - we had an OK vacation, only because we can make the best of any situation. The highlight of our trip was our dinners in the dining room with the fantastic company we had at the table. It was the best dining room company we have had in all of our 11 cruises on Royal Caribbean.
In summary, The Bad - I have never been on a ship where the staff was so unkind. Unlike other ships the staff on this one walked by you without a smile, nod, or any acknowledgement and at times made you feel like you were bothering them. Many were rude and snippy. There were a few exceptions - and I stress very FEW. I wonder if someone should look into the supervision on this ship and determine why so many staff members are so unmotivated. There has to be something going on that would effect almost everyone you see in the public areas. I also urge Royal Caribbean to modify the way it handles large group bookings to assure proper adult supervision in cases like this cruise. This was a large part of our inability to enjoy the amenities onboard. I will definitely say that we will NOT cruise on this ship ever again. We will seek out other cruise ships, maybe on the Tampa side, to take our short 3 or 4 day cruises. Although most of our cruises are as dedicated RC Emerald members, I would even go back to Carnival or NCL for the short trips just to avoid Enchantment of the Seas.