RCCL Enchantment of the Seas
March 14, 2014
Port Canaveral, FL to Nassau, Bahamas and CocoKey
Background- My wife and I are in our early thirties. This is my 10th cruise, her 5th. (Although her 1st short cruise and my 2nd, with the 1st being quite some time ago.) I have been on Norwegian, Royal, Carnival and Celebrity before.
Embarkation- Getting to Port Canaveral from Sarasota, where were were staying, was a breeze. We had a really pleasant ride and booked 2 one-way rentals from Avis. I am an Avis preferred member (free service, sign up online) and picking up the car and dropping it off both ways was quick and painless. Check-in was easy. We used the gold C and A line and the couple we were traveling with used it with us, even though it was their first RCCL cruise. We arrived at about 2 o'clock, were on the ship by 2:15 and cabins were ready. Extremely fast and painless!
The Ship- I loved the design of the ship, it was easy to navigate and made a lot of sense (although buffet being forward and fitness center aft took me awhile to get used to, because it was different from most other ships I have been on.) The atrium was nice and I liked the art in the stairwells more than many other ships I have been on. The main dining room was pretty and the pool deck was very large for a ship of this size with plenty of room for everyone. This also applies to the adult pool area. I found the décor of the bars to be so-so, nothing tacky but nothing interesting or particularly beautiful either. I appreciated the electronic screens at the elevators as well, which told you what was going on and how to get to anywhere else on the ship. The outside of the ship, most visible when in port and tendering, seemed very old. There was a good amount of rust around some windows and it needed painting.
Stateroom- We booked an inside stateroom (2055.) We were a bit forward of mid-ship on deck 2. This was the smallest cabin I can ever recall being in on a cruise ship. The carpet, sheets and sofa were in fine condition. There was plenty of storage for two people, being a 3 night cruise. That said, the bathroom was in the worst shape of any of my cruises. It was somewhat dirty, the shower was the smallest I have ever been in and it was showing major signs of age such as cracked, mis-matched tiles, chipped mirrors and rusted towel bars. This bathroom in this stateroom (and in our friend's stateroom down the hall) was the least maintained and polished area I have seen on any area of my 10 cruises. It worked, and was fine. I am not a bathroom snob and it didn't ruin the cruise, but I wanted to make the point that the bathrooms (at least the two I saw) need refurbishment. The bed was OK but the pillows were pretty bad. I usually bring my own and didn't this time, I regretted that choice. The adjustable flat-screen TV was nice, but we don't really watch TV when on a cruise. We would have used the function to check your onboard spending, but it didn't have this feature.
Food/Drink- We had read up on CC that the main buffet is a mad house on embarkation day, so we went to Park Cafe first instead. The food looked good here but we didn't feel like any of those offerings at that time. We ventured forward to the buffet and didn't find it too crowded (maybe because it was so late.) Throughout the cruise we did find the buffet crowded and it took some effort to find a table. However, my biggest complaint was that the heat lamps are so hot on the plastic tongs that they burn your hands! I heard multiple people complaining about this, even younger children. Then need to come up with a system for the tongs (perhaps a dish on the side?) that isn't under the lamps. It literally would burn you and/or prevent you from being able to have the food of your choosing. I found the food in the buffet decent. I enjoyed the pasta with various sauces, fresh salad, eggs in the morning and the apple pastry. I also appreciated that they had cups of water, punch, iced tea, lemonade and orange juice set out for you. We used room service once and it was very good (try the honey stung chicken.) The food in the main dining room was a mixed bag. I enjoyed all the cold soups (watermelon, banana rum and strawberry.) I also enjoyed the lasagne the last night. My wife loved the tiger shrimp. On the second night I paid extra for the steak from chops but was unimpressed. I wouldn't recommend paying extra for it (about the same quality as an Outback Steakhouse.) Servers Geraldine and Maria were great, but it was frustrating that dinner took at least 2 hours each night. (MTD with reservations for 4 in advance.) We enjoyed getting Starbucks each day (although the line was very long each morning) and treating ourselves to Ben and Jerry's one night. I found service at the R bar to be the best and enjoyed a few “old fashioned's” there. I was very surprised to see the bartender pouring without one of those automatic portion gadgets at the top of the whiskey bottle. I enjoyed the results of that and kept it coming with a bit of an extra gratuity. (BTW, I also found the same thing on CocoKey.)
Entertainment- Being a quick 3 night cruise, we didn't intent to go to the shows or do much of the planned entertainment. Our goal was to relax, do some dancing, take in the beaches and rest. We did do Karaoke one night and that was fun. My wife and friend watched “Frozen” up on deck on night and enjoyed it. We also went to the 70's party in the atrium which was fun.
Casino, Shops, Gym, Spa- Didn't really use them this cruise. This cruise was all about relaxation for us this time around and that we did.
Nassau- From reading on the Bahamas board, I decided to do a beach day at the Melia. It was great. We took a cab from the ship right to the hotel ($25 for 4 ppl.) Once there we got in a very long line at the front desk to purchase the day passes ($30pp.) We didn't mind the line, however, because we used the free wifi on our phones to check email, send photos and communicate back home. Once we paid we were given 4 towel cards (to exchange for towels poolside) and wristbands. The pool area is great with 3 or 4 different pools and a swim up bar. The beach is big with plenty of loungers. We enjoyed lying there and staring out at the water! Food was expensive, it was about $20 for a plate of nachos and a diet coke. The Daq Shack across the street serves the freshest tropical drinks you ever will have. I recommend stopping over there, or walking over part-way through the day. When we were ready to return to the ship we took a cab back (one was waiting in front of the hotel) for $21 for 4 ppl.
CocoKey- Paradise. We loved the beach day at Melia, but CocoKey was just paradise. We walked down to Barefoot Beach where it felt like we were the only people on the island. There were probably 50 empty loungers there! The water and weather were gorgeous. The lunch buffet was fine and after lunch we relocated to a more lively beach closer to the action. That is where I had a few cocktails that were quite strong (with some extra tip.) A great afternoon, indeed.
Closing Note- Any cruise is a good cruise. We could only get away for 3 nights and had few options. We chose Enchantment and I think we made the right choice. It is hard not to compare service with longer cruises, however. I missed the food quality and service of my last cruise on Celebrity Summit but did enjoy this vacation. The ship is old and it really shows in some places. The food is just OK, with a few exceptions. The beach day at Melia and at CocoKey made it all worth it. Would I recommend Enchantment? YES. I just think you have to go into it with the right expectations. It didn't rain a drop, the beaches and company were great and we were able to get away from it all.