Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review by kljake1010: An Optimist Writes an Honest Review
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An Optimist Writes an Honest Review
Just got back from the Baltimore to Bermuda on RCI Enchantment of the Seas. I would not cruise with this line again, although we had a great time -- but our great time was had because I went with fun people who make the best out of every situation. We agreed there was one word to describe this cruise: throw-back.
Embarkation: Slow! They checked our passport at 7, that's 7, different points. Dismebarkation: we did express departure, and it was seamless. We were called at 7:30 and were in our car by 7:45.
Review: We all went 20 years ago in our late teens on an RCI cruise to Bahamas (different ship) and let me tell you, nothing had changed! The games were the same, the activities were the same but there were less of them, and they had added these extra charges that made me feel like I was being nickeled and dimed. So let me start by saying the good parts: The Solarium -- an adult pool with no music, just peace and quiet -- with a bar and grill that served pizza, etc. More We met a lot of nice people and were able to have pleasant conversations. It is covered a lot of the time so it makes it a little stuffy, but when they open the cover and you get the breeze, it's even better. The Viking Crown Lounge Dance Club -- DJ played up to date music from 2010 and took requests. It's dark and there's a fogger, so it has a great atmosphere if you're looking to dance your toes off. After three nights, though, I admit I just wanted to skip the club and go right to bed! Dance floor right by bar so you could watch from the bar. The Staff -- other than one or two, the staff in every area was pleasant, sweet, and helpful. The Drinks -- not much more than you pay out at a restaurant -- wine was $7 a glass, mixed drinks $7.75. And they made very good drinks! I ordered a top shelf Long Island Tea for $7.00, and it was awesome. I also ordered a bold and spicy Bloody Mary for $7.75, and it was one of the best I've had. The 3rd Night Disco Party in the Main Atrium-- the entertainers threw a disco party in the main atrium (you can see all the way up 9 floors) -- it was so much fun to look up and see all the people dancing around the railings, elevators. The Comedian -- he was funny and didn't disappoint.
The negative parts that make me not want to cruise with RCI again are: The Food -- If you love good food, this will affect your cruise experience. As a cook, I know that sometimes, a little salt and pepper is all you need to season a good meat -- and you could tell they didn't even use that! While the prime rib was great, we ordered other meats like rib eye, sirloin, and filet, lamb, and you had to add salt and pepper. So this isn't about money and saving costs, it's about your basic cooking technique. The breakfast food in the main dining hall was so bad (pancakes and eggs) that we never went back after the first day. And the coffee was like hot water -- so in order to get good coffee, you had to pay $3.00 to get it from Seattle's Best, the little stand on the main floor (plus the tip auto-added)-- strong coffee is a big part of my morning, so I paid $3.45 every morning to get that coffee. But 20 years ago, we could order espresso and cappucino any time at no extra charge! And orange juice was the same -- you could get the "regular" kind, which was like water, or pay extra for the fresh squeezed kind. Any time you wanted to get something good, it seems to cost extra. I know you're not getting gourmet food on a ship that has to serve 2400 people, but there are couple of things that could be done that would not break RCI's bank and update their food selection: have a taco bar, add onion seasoning to the hamburgers, offer paninis next to the subs, cheese and crackers, chips/pretzels/some kind of munchie. The cheese slices, no matter the kind of cheese, all tasted the same, which was tasteless. I love to munch on slices of cheddar and crackers -- this was not an option. Sitting at the bar, why not have some "pub food" munchies you could order? Or even just put out a bowl of popcorn or pub mix. By the end of the cruise, I was craving potato chips and dip! We added up the cost of how much it would be to lay by the pool at a nice hotel, like Hard Rock in Orlando, and go out to eat an nice restaurants every night, and it was less money that we spent per person on this cruise. We all agreed we would not cruise on this line again because good food on vacation is important to us.
The Fitness Room was jam packed-- and several people in there were the entertainers that worked for the cruise line! What's that all about? They had Yoga and Pilates and Spin, but of course you had to pay $15 for that. The Activities/Entertainment/Music: I'm lumping this all into one to make it brief. How many times can we hear the medley of all the Grease songs? Apparently there's no limit to this on RCI. Every day at the pool there were line dancing classes...with the exact same songs/line dance every day. The Electric Slide was a big part of this every day. Why not have a "dance moves" activity one of the days where people learn new dance moves? Or have another pool side activity that's different every day? They did have the belly flop contest which was funny. But the line dancing every day got old quickly. The music needs to be updated -- the songs were from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and early 90s. Same songs we heard 20 years ago. The game shows could have been so much more. One game which was called Liars Club was actually Balderdash, a game I love. But the crew members playing acted like characters (a gay ma character and a hill billy character)and the gay character deeply offended several audience members who were there for a gay wedding. They actually booed and stood up and left. We left shortly after because it just wasn't fun. It could have been so much more-- Balderdash came out with a more interesting game 10 years ago called Beyond Balderdash -- and if they added this element, it would have been a different night. The scavenger hunt was the exact same scavenger hunt we did 20 years ago. The trivia was geared for people 50+. The Top 40's music in the Spotlight Lounge was Top 40's from the 60's and 70's, and the girl's voice was hard to listen to -- she just wasn't on key. The karaoke...the song books were so old that the most recent song was Love Shack, which we did. Also, people chose very sad slow songs and the mood in the room was just that. When we got up and did Love Shack it was to lighten up the mood. The guy running it, Moe, made them stand there after and asked two times in a row for every person, "How did they do?" It was embarassing. Speaking of embarassing, one game show, Battle of the Sexes, was basically doing silly things and having it boys against girls. We thought it was going to be like the board game Battle of the Sexes, where women have to answer trivia mostly men would know, and vice versa. Instead, when I volunteered, I had to...get ready...squeeze a key chain between my buttocks and drop it into a bucket on the other side of the dance floor. It was so embarassing but I felt pressured into doing it -- however, the guy I was against refused to do it and went and sat back down. I would have done the same if I had noticed that. Again, it could have been so much better. Someone needs to come in and tweak all the games, all the activites (towel folding? No thanks) to be...well, better. More fun, more engaging, more into the modern times. This ship has a bungee trapeze and supposedly an ice skating rink -- the trapeze was closed due to high wind the whole time. But it's at the front of the ship on the top deck! High wind is the norm! Even docked in Bermuda, ti was closed. Never saw the ice skating rink on any map, never an activity in the ice skating rink --never found it. We didn't ask about it, though -- none of us wanted to ice skate anyway. But it's a big thing when you go onto the RCI website. Just thought I'd mention it. All in all, we had a good time because we were determined to. But we felt cheated out of our money. I've sinced read other reviews and have come across the same thing: outdated games/music, cheap food, and nickeled and dimed. Less
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Cabin review: M Inside Stateroom
Port and Shore Excursions
We went into the city of Hamilton and shopped. You get to sip on a beer or glass of wine and walk around town with it! We bought a bottle of chardonnay at the local store and they not only chilled it for us, they opened it, brown bagged it, and gave us nice plastic glasses to use! Flying Colours was the best place for inexpensive souvenirs. We also went to two bars there -- The Pickled Onion and Flanagans. Both were awesome. The bartender at Pickled Onion, Maureen, was mad in general. We went to Flanagans and the bartender was lively, friendly and fun -- we told him about the mean bartender at Pickled Onion and he said, "That's Maureen!" Apparently she has a reputation for sending Pickled Onion customers to Flanagans! Even the owner came out and said he doesn't understand when they continue to keep her as the main day time bartender. She was good, mind you, but just not friendly in any way. The food at all of those places was EXCELLENT. Then again, I was coming from the bad food at RCI so I was very easily satisfied.
Next day we went to Horseshoe Beach by bus -- 25 minutes from dock. it was beautiful -- this is the beach to go to. Pink sand, cove-like, places to snorkle (although it's a small cove with rocks where the snorking part is) but I guess you could also snorkle in the ocean part. The sea water was extremely salty -- I live on the Jersey Shore so it was interesting just to note the difference in salinity. The water was beautiful and 80. You have to walk down a steep sidewalk to get to the beach, FYI, but they have shuttles that take you back up the hill for $2.00. Some said it was the best $2 they ever spent! If you're looking for a beach resort-like island with glam hotels on the beaches, this is not the island for you. It's more of a small town feel with hotels in areas that aren't on the beach. Elbow Beach resort was closed for renovations, and it seemed to be on the beach, but nothing else that I could find. The local people were very sweet!