Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review by sjforcum: First time cruiser
Overall Member Rating
First time cruiser
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
We just got back from our first* cruise. Sandwiched between a week at Walt Disney World (in our three bedroom grand villa at Bay Lake Tower) and three days at Universal Orlando, our cruise was probably one of the most looked forward to experiences because everything would be a new experience.
In business one of the most difficult challenges is acquiring customers. But even more difficult is keeping them once you've found them. One false move, one bad experience or rude interaction and they're looking at your competitors.
We are already looking at booking our next cruise. And based on our experience with Enchantment of the Seas, we aren't looking at other vendors.
Starting with embarkment. We arrived at the port around 2PM we dropped off our luggage and were on the boat within 20 minutes. All without any priority or gold club service. My wife pre-purchased the soda packages for our children (16 year old son and 11 year old daughter) and the Ultimate Beverage More package for us. We aren't big drinkers and possibly overpaid for the drinks the fixed cost aspect took away another concern while we were on the boat. During check-in we were each issued an RFID enabled soda cup which are becoming all the rage in the restaurant & hospitality business to control how much soda you can obtain from the fountains.
After quickly getting on the boat we took a stroll through the various decks to familiarize ourselves with the ship and were able to go to our state rooms. Having just come from a large Grand Villa at Disney (~2200 sq ft) I was concerned about the size difference but the rooms. I found the rooms to be comparable to a standard hotel room in New York City. The bathrooms were a little tight (ok a lot) and the first day the bathroom had a strange odor but it quickly dissipated. For someone who's never gone on a cruise ship before the best comparison I would use would be a camper bathroom. Functional, especially for how little time was spent in the room.
We ate our on-board lunches in the Windjammer Cafe which had AWESOME views but average food. Typical buffet stuff. The pasta sauce had a little kick to it which I liked but others in the family didn't. The soda is dispensed via the Coke Freestyle machines (refills are available after ~3 minutes). The machines were frequently empty of certain flavors on the first day but it seemed like they were more readily filled as the cruise went on.
Our first night was spent having dinner in the My Fair Lady dining room. The menu was diverse and had great options. Our waitress, Monika was fantastic. She guided us with suggestions and told us what to avoid each night. After dinner she always gave us a helpful brief for what was in store for the next day and helped out with any questions. After dinner we went to the Auditorium watching the comedy show which had us in tears. I then went into the Casino and played some Poker while my wife and daughter went shopping. All good stuff.
The first port was Nassau. We chose to pass on any scheduled excursions (we were thinking of Atlantis but passed due to crowd concerns) and instead chose to shop up and down the strip. Don't bother going to the shopper presentations as someone else pointed out...they are basically commercials for the jewelers on shore. You may get a great deal but since I'm not a jeweler (nor do we wear tons of jewelry) I'd be petrified to make any type of serious investments. The shops were an experience...but all in all I found it to be quite rundown. We were only on shore for a couple of hours and then got back onto the boat. Both processes (on and off) were quick and easy.
The second port was Coco Cay. This easily was the HIGHLIGHT of our family's vacation. We booked the snorkeling through the excursion desk the night before without issue. We caught a tender to the island and quickly grabbed our gear. We hit the ocean and saw amazing marine life, a sunken ship and cannons. During the swim my wedding ring popped off my finger (luckily I was able to find it on the ocean floor). The buffet was good and the bars were quick. We headed back to the boat painlessly around 3PM on a tender.
The food was good, the activities were great but the thing to write home about was the service. Our stateroom attendant, Trevor Mason, was absolutely fantastic. He was quick to introduce himself to us, got to know our family and was always asking how our cruise was going, how he could help and gave us pointers on how to enjoy our time. He was more than just a room attendant...he was a friend on the cruise. Our waitstaff in the dining room, Monica was also excellent for the reasons described above. Even the dealers in the Casino were really friendly and engaging. The only staff on the ship who were somewhat cold were the bartenders, who were basically transactional.
As I said before...I don't see us looking at alternative carriers for our next cruise. Royal Caribbean won our business and then people like Trevor, Monica and Mitch (the cruise director) kept it by delivering an outstanding experience. I'd highly recommend this ship and Royal Caribbean for your first cruise. Less
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