After having sailed with Royal Caribbean International in the recent past, I must say I am displeased with the most recent cruise with them. This June 9-13 cruise to the Bahamas on Enchantment of the Seas, left much to be desired. Granted that this was only my second cruise with Royal Caribbean, I had exemplary service on my first cruise;thus, this could be why the second time around was not up to par. The first time, I sailed on Navigator of the Seas to the Western Caribbean. To sum up the major points: embarkation was smooth, service was not good, ports would have been great if the weather had permitted, and disembarkation was hectic.
Transportation and Embarkation:
I used Delta to travel to Orlando International Airport, and Southwest to travel back to San Francisco. Both these airlines had layovers, and I did red-eye and Saturday evening flights to reduce the rate. The red-eye on Delta wasn't so bad, and they give you blankets to use. The Saturday evening flight allowed me to spend some time in downtown Orlando exploring the tourist destinations.
Port Canaveral port is located a couple (2-5 miles) from the rental car businesses. However, these businesses offer free shuttle transportation to and from the port. All the shuttles require that a reservation has been made with their rental company before they take you. The driver's of these shuttles carry luggage for you, and are friendly. I used Avis to go to the port from the Orlando International Airport and Dollar to go from the port to Orlando International Airport. I did a lot of research beforehand on what the most economic way to get to and from the ship was, and renting a car was the best price. In addition to this, you may get discounts if you have memberships to costco, citi cards, or AAA. I found that I got a cheaper deal for renting a car longer than 1 day rather than only one day. Additionally, if you rent a car at the airport, you get a better price. There is many tolls to use regular highways in Florida, and some of them do not have attendants. All the rental car companies offer a device that you can pay a fee to use daily, and then you can drive through these toll stops without stopping. I paid around $80 for 2 days and $96 for 1 day rentals. The Kia Rio has better gas mileage than the Chevy Cruze, but the Chevy is more comfortable.
Embarkation was really smooth, although I am a gold member so I had the opportunity to use a faster line. The regular line was not long at all though, and the staff was super friendly. They now offer "wow cards" 1 per person, to hand out to employees on the ship that wow you. These need to be submitted to guest services before you leave the ship. Gratuities are also automatically added to your account, $12 per person per day. I believe this is the reason that the dining waiter slacked off with our dinner service, but this is my personal opinion...more on this later. I arrived at the port for embarkation at around 11:30am, and was on and having lunch pretty quickly.
Ship-Enchantment of the Seas:
The ship was in good condition and was maintained very clean. The layout was not very intuitive though. The large events like the Quest gameshow were held in the Spotlight lounge and this was not nearly large enough for all guests. Even though people managed to fit, many had to stand or sit on the floor. Also the people sitting at the ends, did not get a good view of the stage, as they were looking at everyone's backs most of the time. There is a huge television screen on the pool deck, which would have been nice to watch games on, if there hadn't been so much rain on this cruise time. The solarium is supposed to be a quiet relaxation place for adults, but they have the Park cafe inside, which is open when other locations are not. Teenagers hung around here a lot because of the food, and because it was near the sports deck as well. They were very loud, and went as far as to play games inside the pool. My partner and I were not able to use the jacuzzi's at all because they were always full of people who already knew each other (large families) or a bunch of teenagers. The curfew for teens was 1am, and many stayed out until the very last possible moment, so the only way one could use the solarium jacuzzi would be to go after around 1:30am. The casino staff did not announce when there were people waiting for others to join the poker table, so my partner did not get to enjoy poker games very much. What ended up happening is that the travelers themselves had to go recruit people to play poker so that they could have enough people for a game. Also, the bar staff on the pool deck and in the casino was not proactive about offering drinks, so that is one of the reasons we did not consume much. The cruise director claims that the R Bar in the centrum is one where they can make any drink you want and that they use fresh ingredients and make it in front of you-this is not the case. I ordered a mango and a peach margarita and they said they did not have peach anymore. So, I changed it to strawberry and the bartender disappeared for about 15 minutes. When he came back he had both margaritas, but it was not made in front of me. At the casino bar I ordered 2 coronas with lime and salt, but they did not have salt for me. The love and marriage gameshow was awesome, and the comedian on board was pretty funny. The entertainment was a 5 out of 5. However, there wasn't much activities to do for the sporty people on board. I believe there was only 1 volleyball game and it was against ship staff, not other traveler's. There was not any basketball games.
Interior stateroom category N-I got assigned a cabin on the 2nd floor towards the aft (back of the ship). Specifically I was 2137, and everything was o.k. but the smell was not cool. On the hallway towards that cabin, it was really stinky. It was like this every single time we walked through there.
The toilet in the room did not always flush. By the 2nd day we knew that we would press the button for it to flush, and walk away. Five minutes later, the toilet would flush. The showers are small and this is amplified because they have shower curtains instead of doors. All the water gets out into the rest of the bathroom, regardless of how careful one is. I always laid towels down on the bathroom floor to soak up the water that would inevitably leak out. The extra drain on the bathroom floor does nothing to help this. There is enough space in the stateroom for 2 large luggage contents and there is a nice little couch. The tv is top quality, samsung and it is hung on the wall. There is one drawer of 2 next to the bed (queen option) and the other drawer is inside the closet. The hair dryer stops working after about 1 minute of use. The AC works real well and so do the lights.
The room attendant was great at his job. Cannot complain, although he was not talkative or friendly. Which he shouldn't have to be, when his tip is already guaranteed. He really did a great job though, and even made a monkey, swan, and duck for us.
The dining waiter was very rushed all the time, and not hospitable. He was not talkative and did not joke with the table. He did not fill up water glasses until someone managed to ask him as he walked by the table. The bread was always cold and if you wanted a bread they did not have in the basket (wheat), they did not go get you one. Instead they said, they did not have any because so and so got them before you. He was very reluctant to give us more than one starter or entree or dessert. He also did not peel the shrimp for us like the waiter on the next table to us, or like the waiter on our first cruise. The table was not wiped down after dinner and before dessert as it was every night on the first cruise I took.
Was good enough in the windjammer. The sushi is not good. The breakfast selection is slim. The park cafe was good, but they always ran out of chips and the pizza was not very tasty even though it was hot every time. The dinner was always very very good.
THE ROOM SERVICE WAS TERRIBLE. It took around 1 hr and 20 minutes for me to get 2 caesar salads and a cheesecake. Actually, they got the order wrong order to me and gave me 2 soggy caesar salads with a cheese plate and no utensils. I told this to the guy who delivered and he said to call in for utensils and for a cheesecake that I did not receive. I am sure that it was not a misunderstanding when I ordered the cheesecake because they even told me that it was a raspberry cheesecake and asked if that was ok. I did complain about this to guest services and all the attendant did was "note" the account. I did not receive any follow-up to this "note." He also said it is to be expected to wait 45 minutes for your room service order. On my first cruise, I was displease with something at the windjammer on the the 2nd day. I received complimentary chocolate covered strawberry's every single day for the remainder of my 7 day cruise. To say the least, I was disappointed and I expected more.
It was hectic. We walked off and it still took a long time. This is probably because there were a lot of family's on the ship, so there were strollers and stuff in the way. People also moved slower, and did not follow directions well so this help up the process. We finally got off, and waited around 15 minutes for our shuttle.
It was raining so we did not enjoy this port. It was not RCI's fault though. It looked like a perfect relaxation spot if the weather had permitted. The tender boats were quick and came around every 15-30 minutes to and from the ship. There was complimentary food on the island, and hammocks and cabanas galore. The beach looked really pretty also. The cookies were very soggy though...but this could have been due to the rain.
It was a really pretty port. It was close to the city and the people were nice. I went to the straw market and walked around much of the city. No one was rude and I never felt scared. I was not overly hassled at the straw market either and it was relatively inexpensive. I had a nice camera with me the whole time too and never felt scared. I was out during the day though. Señor Frogs was very expensive but there is wifi there if you consume something.
I took a bus to the bridge for $1.25 per person and the walk across the bridge was not bad. The ferry will cost you $8 roundtrip to and from paradise island.
The walk from the port to the bridge is only around 20 minutes and it is not scary. Taxis will overcharge you and rip you off.