Enchantment of the Seas 11-27-10 Sailing
I decided at the last minute to book this cruise. I actually booked it the Monday before the sailing. One of the online companies I have booked with, in the past sent me a $100 online coupon for a 7 night cruise or longer. With this I was able to get a single cabin for this 9 day cruise for a great deal. Since it was in Baltimore, I figured I could get a cheap flight from Boston. What I did not figure was the fact that was a holiday weekend and cheap flights were not available. After pricing the cost of driving and the train, which was still very expensive, I found a bus on Greyhound for $33 one way. The thought of traveling by bus was not exactly exciting for me, but it was only for 8 hours. I was surprised when I got on the bus. It was a new bus with comfortable seats, a plug for my laptop and Wi-Fi Internet. After 3 Netflix movies and a 1 hour layover in NYC, I was in Downtown Baltimore. It was an $8 Cab Ride from the Bus Station to the Cruise Port.
I got to the Port at 10:45 AM. I do not think I had a easier time getting on the ship, ever. There was a slight wait of about 15 minutes while they got the rest of the people off the ship from the previous cruise. They served coffee while we waited and by 11:15 we were on the ship. How it was handled and the way it was process, I definitely give it 5 Stars. *****
Cabin # 4023 Inside:
I booked an inside cabin and it was small. I miss having a small sofa to sit on to watch TV, though the TV was only a 13". The Satellite TV was sporadic at best. I missed the first Sunday's football games. They were nowhere to be found on the ship. The bathroom was a typical size, but the shower was so oddly shaped. It was not the corner shower type, but the only way I can describe it was it was like a piece of cake, a SMALL piece of cake. I ended up showering at the gym. Temperature Control was a problem as well. I like my cabin cool and the A/C just doesn't deliver it. I think it was there just for show. Cabin I give 3 stars. *** (Please note that the 3 stars do not include my cabin service, just the cabin.)
The layout of the ship was quite easy to get around in. Unlike the larger ships, you can get from one end of the ship to another without having to go a floor down or up to get to it. Each deck was accessible to anything on that deck. Most of the larger ships you find yourself having to go to the next deck and back to the deck you were on just to get somewhere. The bars and the nightclubs were pretty nice and a good crowd. They have a section in the Casino for people to watch sports. Unfortunately, smoking was allowed in the Casino. Now, I am not against smoking. In a confined area though, the smoke and smell can get bad. I actually avoided the Casino and my wallet thanked me. ? They have a good selection at the Library. The Internet cafe is expensive and not high speed. I compared the speed of the internet to a 54k phone modem. There are plenty of internet cafes in ports, so try to do most of it during your port days. The Health Club and Spa was a hit and miss for me. They Health Club had a good variety of equipment and weights, though a bit dated by today standards. I never had to wait very long at all to use the equipment. My big disappointment was no true steam room and sauna in the locker room. They do have a small steam shower, but not a good replacement for a steam room. They did have those amenities, but removed them in order to add more treatment rooms to the Spa.
Food: (Let face it, we all want to know this.)
I try to eat at in the Main Dining Room for most of my meals. I tend to put too much food on my plate in The Windjammer Buffet. I will first review the Dining Room food and then the Windjammer food. I am reviewing the food only and not the service. I will get to service on the ship later in my review.
The food, for the most part, is very good. I found breakfast was my favorite meal there. Hot food was hot and cold food was cold. Coffee is very strong on the ship. If you do not like strong coffee, just ask the server to bring you some hot water to you to suit your taste. They have a nice breakfast bar as well in the dining room. It had fresh fruit, cereals, granola, nuts and sometimes berries. Nice addition to the breakfast. Lunch you had about 15 things to choose from. Everything I ordered was served at the temp it was suppose to be. The best part of lunch in the dining room though was the Salad Bar. This is not a place where you make your own salad, but servers are behind the Salad Bar to ask you what you want for a salad and they prepare it for you. Dinner, food was not so great to very good. I always get the cold soups and they did not disappoint me at all. Most of the first courses were quite good. The shrimp cocktails were pretty small. You know the 72-90 count shrimps. The escargot was awesome. I know for the most part that I mostly taste the garlic butter, but still, I enjoyed them. The main course was a true hit and miss. I found the beef courses to be the most difficult for them to control the temp. If you like your steaks rare to medium rare, you are not going to get you steak too warm. They did a very good job with the pasta dishes and the poultry dishes. To be honest, the seafood dishes were the worst. There is nothing good to say about lukewarm seafood. Scallops were undercooked and the lobster tail was overcook to the point it had no flavor at all. Being from New England, I am picky about seafood and usually never order it on a ship. Dessert was very good and I surprisingly enjoyed the ice cream.
I ate at the Windjammer Cafe a few times. I enjoyed the selection and like the different food stations set up. How they kept most of the food warm was surprising. Sandwiches were fresh and I also enjoyed the pasta station. There was a good variety of dessert as well. The flow of the people in the Windjammer was difficult to maneuver around. If one person was standing in the middle of 2 stations, it created a bit of a traffic jam. So, placement of the food stations could have been better, but I guess they do with the space giving. Between 12 and 1 PM, is the busiest, so expect to take a bit of time finding a table. Unless you want to be alone, if you see 2 people at a 4-5 seat table, do not be shy to ask to join them. This endless search for a table can be solved simply by joining someone else.
Room Service was awesome. Though they have a limited menu, what they do serve is very good to excellent. I had most items on it and enjoyed every one. Please remember to tip the person who delivers your food. Also, there is a $3.95 charge for room service between midnight and 5AM.
For the Food only, I gave it 3 ½ Stars ***1/2
I am not reviewing the ports, but how the ship handled the debarkation. It truly was my biggest disappointment of the cruise. I only got off the ship in Key West. We were docked at the naval base and had to take a shuttle to the town. Since we arrived late and spending a short time there, everyone tried to get off the ship as early as possible. Add to that the photographers taking everyone's picture, it was a disaster. Not well organized at all. The security staff were overwhelmed and to be honest, rude. I finally turned around and went back to my cabin. It was not entirely RCCL fault, but they could have handled it much better.
Port Service, I give it 1 1/2 Stars *1/2
I thought the overall service on the ship was one of the best I have received on RCCL. The first time I had lunch on the Windjammer, while waiting for the cabins, I asked one of the people behind the food station where I can get milk. She goes to me, "No problem, let me get it for you." This was typical of the attitude the service I received on the ship. I have been on ships where, unless they were working for a tip, they were indifferent towards you. Not on the Enchantment. My cabin steward knew what my schedule was right away and prepared my cabin around it. He was great. I also had towel animals every night. Service for breakfast and lunch for the most part was excellent. Dinner, the service was exceptional. This was the first time I had an all female dinner attendances. They were by far the best I had. They knew what I liked to drink and had it ready for me every night. They found the right balance of friendliness and professionalism that made the dining experience that much more enjoyable. The front office crew was exceptional and wanted to make sure your cruising experience was enjoyable.
Services on Ship, I give it 5 Stars *****
Just as smooth as the embarkation. It took about 15 minutes to get off the ship, get my bags and outside waiting for the shuttle to the airport.
I give it 5 Stars *****
My overall review is based on the expectations I had for the cruise. Overall they did a great job with what they had to work with. A few glitches here and there did not take away from my enjoyment of the cruise. Sorry I had no reviews of the shows, I did not attend any. Not a big show person here. Service made the difference on this ship and made up, for the most part, for the lack of amenities larger ships had. For the price paid for this cruise, I could not stay at a Motel 6 and eat 3 meals at McDonald's. I do miss the little extras that RCCL gave before. I miss having the chocolates on the bed, better toiletries and things like that. I would rather not have those extras and have a excellent value vacation. That is what RCCL gave me.
Overall I give the Enchantment of the Seas 4 Stars ****