I'm the type who reads every available review before stepping on board a cruise ship; I just don't like surprises when my valuable vacation time is involved. In the case of Enchantment of the Seas the reviews were all over the place and I had a difficult time figuring out where the "Hated everything" and the "Love everything" people came together. Even with this confusion we booked the cruise and took the chance. It was because of this grey area that I paid so much attention to the details in preparation of my own review.
As a point of reference, my wife and I are 49 and 50 and decided to take our college age children on one last family vacation before significant others began showing up and their lives took different paths. This was our second cruise so we had a good idea of what we wanted out of it. My wife and I had a cabin with a veranda and the 3 adult kids shared an inside cabin, both on deck 8.
Embarkation was a breeze and Port Canaveral staff knows how to get you onto the ship quickly. During the short time we waited I met a group of people celebrating their high school graduations from Coco High School in1963 through 65. We talked and laughed and I learned some very interesting sign language.
Once on board we went straight to the excursions desk and put our name on the waiting list for a cabana at Cococay. We were the second family to do so and in the end only the first two on the list received a cabana. We then sat down and enjoyed a couple of "Drink of day" cocktails while everyone boarded and waited to get into our cabins. Having eaten a good breakfast at the hotel that morning there was no need to fight the crowds for more food at the buffet. If you're not starving and in danger of imminent death I recommend it was about 11:00 am at this point and our cabins were ready very quickly. Once we dropped off our carry-on bags we took a walk around and checked things out. The ship shows her age every now and then but still looks great. The carpets were clean, the elevators were spotless and everything smelled fresh. Staff was smiling and was busy helping passengers with questions. We both had good first impressions of the Enchantment and her staff. When luggage began being delivered ours was right on time while a few of our children’s bags went missing. We jumped in and made the rounds trying to figure out what had gone wrong, of course cursing the cruise lines for our unneeded stress. Come to fine out one of my daughters had tried to sneak bottles of hard lemonade on in both hers and her sibling’s luggage. We claimed the bags once the bottles were removed (Meeting some very friendly staff along the way), gave the guy a tip for his trouble and continued on with the day. *&%# children...
The pools were nice and clean and there was always room, even at the busiest of times. There seemed to be enough chairs for everyone and the towels never ran out. I read where you had to pay for pool towels, not true.
The bars seemed to be right where they needed to be and both on deck and below. I didn't think every bartender knew how to make every drink perfectly, but who cares. The drinks were cold, always had enough alcohol and were always available. The clubs were always hopping and if you didn't like the entertainment in one, just go find another. The piano bar was a well-kept secret on this cruise as was the Viking Lounge. They always seemed to be pretty empty and the staff was great.
My opinion: Drink packages are reasonably priced, buy one. My Premium alcohol package cost me $220.00, I past that by the end of the third day just by drinking socially. This included virgin blender drinks, juices and water.
The food was good and extremely plentiful. Our server routinely brought our table two or three starters, entrees and desserts. Sometimes each of us received multiple dishes; we always left the table stuffed and happy. Our server was fantastic and always remembered our names, likes and dislikes. The food at the Windjammer was always good and more than plentiful. Breakfast was great and there was always somewhere to sit. My kids ordered room service on occasion and found it good, but a little slow.
Cococay was great, remember to try to get a private cabana, they’re not on the beach but you get a private bar, dining area and restrooms. Note: The web site says that you cannot use your drink package on the island. This is incorrect, they accepted mine just fine. For those Disney cruisers who try to compare the island with Castaway Cay, you can’t, Castaway is in a class of its own. The island is clean, staff is friendly and we had a great time. Even though they can’t dock there, tendering is just another fun boat ride and gives you a chance to see more sights.
Nassau is Nassau, friendly but a bit scary some times. The shopping was fun and every tourist needs to experience Straw Market at least a few times. Just a quick note about Senior Frogs, this is a shady bar no matter how they try to market it. A young lady sitting next to us was smoking marijuana at the table and there are service people in the restroom with their hands out for tips. No tip, no soap or towel for washing your hands. My wife and I got out pretty quickly but my son went later in the evening and was offered cocaine as he left the front door. My advice is to go check it out for lunch but then get out and return to the ship and do your partying there.
Some reviews complained about a sewage smells in the cabin and non-working toilets. I never smelled sewage and I was ready for it, brought air freshener just in case. I found that the toilet in our cabin failed to flush two times. Both times I waited several seconds and tried it again without a problem.
Getting off the ship was very easy and the line moved right along. Customs was a breeze and no one gave us a hard time.
Just a few more tips:
• One of the hot tubs in the Solarium is open 24 hours.
• The Solarium serves late night food for the party crowd. Nothing fancy, but its food when you need it.
• Get to know your dinner server; it’ll make your dining experience so much better.
• Throw out a few dollars in tips when you’re planning on staying in one place for a while, your service will be so much better.
• When you first board the ship and finish with any cabana rentals or excursions planning, go explore the ship. Find where everything is right away so you’re not surprised by it on the last night at sea.
• Viking Lounge, check it out after dinner. It becomes a dance club around 1:00 am but before that it’s nice and empty.
• Get up at 5:00 am, get a coffee on deck 10 and then head for deck 11 for the sunrise, I never missed one.
• Bring a power bar for charging your electronics; the one outlet just isn’t enough for everything.
• The casino smells like an ashtray, just saying.
• Shows were good and a great way to sit off a big fat dinner.
• You can order drinks during the shows so even if you don’t like the performers, who cares???