I booked this cruise as a last minute SUPRISE! For my husband who has never cruised before. I cruised Enchantment many years ago, and this was my first time back. I booked about a month ahead, so it was all pretty rushed. I can say that there were several times where I tried to call Royal Caribbean for questions or help and stayed on hold for 30 minutes - 1 hour, then other times I called and got someone immediately. Not sure if they were closed during the other longer wait times, but the system never stated that if it was the case.
EMBARKMENT: We arrived at Port Canaveral about 11:15 or so. I have read that parking would be terrible, but we parked in the lot right outside of where you go to board the ship and we had a very short walk. The parking was $15 a day and I have sense found there is cheaper parking, I will be taking that route next time I believe. So for the whole trip we paid $75 for parking we arrived Monday and pulled out on Friday. We were not C&A members so we did not have priority boarding. Even considering this, we were on the ship within minutes. There were no lines and no waits.
TIP: If you do not have a passport and you are using your ID and birth certificate, beware. I got married 2 years ago and my birth certificate has my birth name. The lady said that if my license did not have BOTH my birth name and my married name then I would not have been able to board without my Marriage license. So if you have gotten married, have that on hand! Or have your license say both names. Especially be ware if you have been married more than once and kept the previous married name on your new marriage certificate. I figured that could get ugly for some people when they are there to board. Like I said, we were on the ship within minutes.
Your staterooms will not be ready immediately, ours were not ready until about 2pm. So be aware of that! We packed a light carry on with our swim suits, sunblock, the papers we needed to board the ship, etc. We immediately went to Windjammer for lunch. We had no problem finding a seat but as soon as we began eating, the place was out of seats. I offered for a nice couple to sit with us at our table as we had a 4 seat table and only 2 people, but many people did not make that offer. Some people were eating sitting up or at chairs without tables, but remember there are many chairs and tables around the deck area right outside the doors also.
Windjammer lunch was so disappointing! The burger was amazing but the desserts all had a store bought texture and everything else I tried was very bland or processed tasting. Lemonade, water, and tea is free but if you are from the south like me be warned, it isn't sweet tea! Some people were complaining because they were in a family and each person had a carry on bag so they had 4 or 5 bags and assumed their room would be ready when they boarded at 11, that is not the case so be careful with that! By 2pm or so our room was ready and our luggage arrived before 5pm. Oh, our room was 2051!
After playing in the pool, eating lunch, and getting into our room we took a quick nap before the muster drill. The muster drill went smoothly, but before the actual alarm went off telling us to report to our station, our stateroom attendant came knocking and introduced himself as well as asked us to go ahead to the muster station. He mentioned his supervisor was making them do this, so we were on our way a couple minutes early. It really probably took us all of 10 minutes. Shortly after the drill we began sailing away, I think we were supposed to begin leaving around 4:30 but we were cleared to move a bit before that. For some reason we were in the Windjammer as we were taking off, I wish I had wrote this sooner so I could remember but I am pretty sure that around 4pm hubby got hungry so we went and had a snack. I ate the fruit and it was really amazing. Very ripe and fresh. I have to say that the first day the movement on the ship was very very noticeable. We played $1 blackjack in the casino and I definitely noticed the movement. I even woke up in the middle of the night because of our bed moving. We did not get sick, but be prepared and I would say bring something just in case. It was not stormy, but I guess being on a smaller ship it makes the waves more noticeable (and you could see there were some smaller waves and movement happening on the water)
We had my time dining and we ended up making our reservations for 8pm every night. We had the same table every night, table 25, and we requested the same server. Cajetan was AMAZING and our assistance server Ornes was great too! From the first night they always suggested the best appetizer and entrée and had a moto "don't be shy. If you are shy, you don't get anything. If you ask you get everything!" And they meant it. I cannot remember what we ate the first night but I do remember Cajetan would surprise us, if we ordered one entrée he would bring another of his favorites to the table for us and same for appetizer and desserts. He really let us know that it was FREE and we should ENOY! He was great. Ornes kept our glasses full and was always right on time. I would say our dinner took about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes every night. TIP: Going to throw this out there. I avoided gaining weight by NEVER using the elevator. We were on deck 2 and had to walk at least to deck 5 for dinner or deck 9 for the pool or windjammer. It really worked and I didn't gain anything even eating like a pig and drinking wine every night.
We ordered room service for breakfast. It was very small portions and it did not fill my husband up, but it was pretty good. It did not arrive on time though. I asked for it between 8-8:30 and it showed up closed to 9am putting us a little late getting to the tender.
Cococay was beautiful. We were a bit late arriving for the tender to take us there and there was definitely a line. I suggest getting there early. Once on the island, I would say it was around 9:45 or so we had no problem finding a chair and a good place to go swim. We booked the Sting Ray Snorkel and it was so amazing! The staff was friendly, informative, and really just wanted us to have a good time. We got to swim with the stingrays, hold them, and feed them as well as hold star fish and other creatures. The sting rays were very large and would brush up against you as they swam by. It was by far the best experience!!
Lunch at Cococay was not fun! We got back around 12:30 from the stingray encounter and there were long lines everywhere. There were no seats. People were on beach chairs eating even or standing in the hot sun. I waited in line while husband tried to find a seat and finally he begged a family of 4 to let us sit with them. It was really sort of awkward because we were shoulder to shoulder. It took a little time to get our food and then I had to wait on our drinks, that was the really long line. You had to wait a good 10min for a cup. The food was great, typical BBQ. The wait was not worth it though. After lunch we grabbed an alcoholic drink of the day from the bar and tried to do some shopping but it began looking like it was going to rain so we decided to just head back to the ship. That was a very long line also. After waiting and finally making it onto the tender, it began POURING rain, pelting everyone. We were on the top of the boat. Luckily everyone laughed and took it in good stride. The rain was over within a while, it didn't ruin the whole day. But beware, the tender boat does get slippery if it rains and you are up top! We enjoyed room service after we took a nap (we like naps and we like food), husband loved the pizza (much like a frozen pizza you'd buy and he loves those lol) and I loved the cheese plate (which I then got every single day after that). We ate dinner in the main dining room again, same experience and it was wonderful. I believe we ate some kind of beef they had cooked medium rare and served over mashed potatoes, amazing.
We ate breakfast in the main dining room. They had a cereal bar and small breakfast bar where you could grab your own. I had a bacon and onion quiche, it was really amazing! We had an excursion but not until 1:30 so we decided to walk out in Nassau. It was raining but I had an umbrella TIP: PACK AN UMBRELLA!! I don't care what you think the weather will be like, just do it! We had people envious of us lol. Within 20 minutes the rain was over. Nassau was not very fun. It had a lot of shopping but it had a lot of people shoving flyers in your face, reaching out to grab you, and telling you why you should do this or that tour. We didn't like it at all. We immediately got back on the ship. The ship was empty and we enjoyed the pools and had a bunch of fun until our excursion. We ate at Windjammer for lunch before our excursion, again it disappointed. I did not like much besides the burgers.
We did the Atlantis Deep Water Dolphin Swim. WOW!!! At first I was not impressed as they stood underneath a shaded building and made us line up for 15 minutes or so in the blazing hot sun. I believe the real feel was something like 103 or 106 that day our guide said. He told some people "Well, you picked coming to the Bahamas ya know" It seemed a little rude to me, as we were left in the sun. When we got to Atlantis is took us a very very long walk to get to the dolphins. I honestly have to say that it took us about an hour or more total to get to them. Then we had to wait on the first group to get done. At this point, I was feeling disappointed. IT DID NOT LAST LONG! WOW! I would do it again in a HEART BEAT! We got to hug and kiss the dolphin, free swim with the dolphin, get a foot push, and then feed it and watch it do all kinds of tricks. Our time in the water was PLENTY and it was so worth the cost. They sold pictures by packages not individuals, so for 5 pics you paid $70 then you received one free pic. We ended up getting pictures, that is how amazing it was! I can't even put it into words. We were done with the dolphins around 4:30... If I could do it over again I would want to swim in the pools and do the water slides at Atlantis also.
We ate dinner in the main dining room again, same wonderful experience. Remember though, we kept requesting the best server ever! I also want to say that we had the best stateroom attendant also. We called him Mr. T but his name was actually Travis or Trevor one. He was from Jamaica I think he said. Our room was cleaned twice a day! Once during the morning and again while we ate dinner! TIP: If you drink wine, go ahead and buy the bottle! They save it for you the next day, or you can take it back to your room and wherever you go next! It was $8 per glass or $30 for a bottle of basic Moscato. We purchased the bottle and would get about 6 glasses, which was enough for 2 nights plus taking some back to our room!
This was our at sea day. I wish I had more good things to say about it, but I really don't. We ate breakfast at Windjammer, WOW! What a difference from lunch! It was AMAZING! They had anything and everything and I wish we would have ate there more often for breakfast!
We tried to go to the pool but there were tons of people. Chairs were taken up all the way on the top deck, including the tables you normally eat at. We were not moving fast so there was little to no breeze, so if you were not in the water you were going to be pouring sweat. There were a ton of kids on this cruise and the pool was full of them. Many were running around on the edge in the water, something that we are taught is a No-No at our local pools as it is dangerous. I did see crew having to get onto several kids for doing these things, I am not sure where parents were. Some parents were definitely right there with or watching their children, and you could tell the difference. I want to add that the pool was frequently packed, but never as bad as the at sea day. We went to the Solarium and that pool was not near as packed, that was nice. But even though the weather was BEAUTIFUL, they kept the Solarium ceiling closed. So it felt sort of stuffy and really did feel like an indoor pool. It was better than nothing, but it would have been nice to be able to have both the beautiful weather and a pool that you could fit in. There were a lot of activities on the boat, Belly Flop Competition, Sexiest Man Competition, and Chubby Bunny (where you stuffed as many marshmallows in your mouth as you can while saying the phrase Chubby Bunny). We did enjoy the events going on, but as far as enjoying the ship and being able to relax by the pools, definitely a no.
TIP: Wear what you want to wear, trust me! Don't be self conscious. There were all kinds of body types wearing all kinds of swim suits and clothing, no one cares! Everyone was there to have fun.
We chose to walk our own luggage off with us as our disembarkment time was very late into the morning. We woke up, decided to skip breakfast, and watched at the ship pulled into port. We were off the ship and in our car within no time! I believe walkoff began at 7:15 and it went very smoothly! Here is the funny thing, we left our keys on the ship! Well husband ran back to tell them, sure enough the crew got them from our room and delivered them to us. How nice is that? Even with forgetting our keys we were leaving Port around 8am.
OTHER RANDOM STUFF:
* The drinks were never made the same depending on the bartender, but there was a bartender near the pool who was great with tricks. I have to say that I do not drink at all back home, but on the ship I drank about 3 drinks and 1-2 glasses of wine a day and never felt any light headed, dizzy, or buzzed. I did ask for a rum and coke one time and watched him pour less than a shot, it was the bottom of the bottle and he did not reach to finish filling the shot with another bottle. Tsk, tsk.
*Look at spending about $8 per drink. They add gratuity so even if you get the drink of the day, it will be coming out to about this price.
*Make sure to pay attention to what eatery is open at what times. Nothing was open all the time except room service, which takes about 30-45 minutes. And the times that places were open varied every single day.
* We went to the marriage and love show, adult comedy (not too adult), the juggling and trick guy, chubby bunny, belly flop, can't stop the rock dance show, etc. I was not AS impressed with the dance and singing shows, but they were ok.