Embarkation in Baltimore was smooth even with a full passenger list waiting to board. Everyone I encountered at the check in desk was professional & friendly and gave all information in a simple to understand professional, friendly manner.
From the moment I stepped onboard until the moment I disembarked, I have NEVER encountered such pleasant , professional, friendly staff, in all of other travel experiances! Had lunch while waiting for luggage to arrive. I was told 1:30pm and it was in the room at 1:30 pm! this isn't a big deal for me, but still impressive.
I dined using the "MY TIME" option. This seating took place at the 5th floor level of the My Fair Lady Dining Room. The room was lovely and the service/quality/presentation were exceptional for the 9 evenings I chose to dine there. the staff could not do enough to ensure a pleasant experiance.
Labadee: I just rented a floating beach mat and enjoyed a wonderful day in the sun. The band played and I had partook of the buffet/bbq that was offered at the larger beach. NOTE: GO TO COLUMBUS COVE IT"S MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE AND LESS CROWDED!! Had good time. Drinks were easily available, etc.
San Juan: I chose to walk all through old town and it was lovely. Walked all the way to the Fort and just spent the day browsing through the shops. Plenty of great photo ops too!
Samana: I did not leave ship. Wasn't interested in the tours offered, since most were the "rain-forest" variety.
St Thomas: walked into town and had a great day. You will be able to tell reputable jewelers easily by the time you leave. Venture down the alleyways, etc. Little restaurants, etc. make for a good time. Easy cab rides for those that want to do the town on their own!
St Marten: I was stupid. Took a tour which was fine. But remember! ALL OF ISLANDS LOOK THE SAME!!! BEAUTIFUL BEACHES< BEAUTIFUL WATER/MARINAS & SHACKS for the inhabitants. Do you really need to see village after village of shacks?
Take a cab ride directly to the french side if you so choose. i should have done this. by the time we arrived in the French side we had 40 minutes to go around! WHAT CAN YOU DO IN 40 MINUTES!! The driver was wonderful, but let's get real! By the time we returned to the Dutch/ship port side i could have walked around but chose to return and swim in the pool.
Tortolla: Don't waste time walking around. The people at the little market by the dock are assholes and and the resentment is palpable. Strange and I know strange. Go directly to a beach if you choose but be careful and make sure the price is determined before your butt hits the seat of a cab. Don't bother shopping with the "Buyers guide" from the ship. This town is a hole. No ugly or anything like that, but the only sour spot on the trip. Again my opinion is based on the attitude of the majority of people I encountered. Pusser's bar and store is nice. and a few shops on mains street have friendly american owners, but i should have just stayed on the pool deck, ya know?
The ship: Was lovely, spotless and anyone complaining about the service aboard should ask themselves, " What attitude did I embark with." The staff i encountered form the Windjammer buffet to the My Fair Lady dining room, could not have been more friendly, professional and wonderful to deal with. My faith is cruising was restored. After a horrific experience on NCL the summer of 2010, i embarked on this trip expecting NOTHING, HOPING for sunshine if nothing else. HAH!! I was shocked at the difference a cruise line can make! As a Maryland resident, I have been wanting to use the Port for years and this was a great opportunity to do so. Get on board this great ship and relax. Keep in mind the time of year you cruise will determine your cruise mates! A January cruise for 12 days will be a lot of seniors/retirees. This will reflect on the entertainment and ambiance. What is your goal in cruising? To relax and get a tan(mine) or extreme traveling? KNOW what you want before you book. Then put a smile on your face and let the Enchantment keep it there!