For the second week in a row, the Enchantment of the seas had gastrointestinal viruses among passengers and crew. As a result, we were told the night before our cruise to not arrive before 12:30 p.m. When we arrived, we were greeted by workers on shore wearing tyvec suits, breathing masks and industrial gloves wiping down every surface including the door handles, poles holding the webbing for passenger lines, the webbing, and every surface including the walls of the restrooms in the terminal.
With a weather delay of 11 hours, the cruise literally got off to a rocky start at 3 a.m. on Tuesday. The next morning, the Captain announced that because of the weather delay, the ship would not be going to Key West, a major destination for most adults without children on the cruise.
• Good luggage drop-off process
• Good check-in process
• Bottleneck when ship photographers placed themselves between passengers and the ship, harassing people for pre-cruise photos.
• Families with children not given ID wristbands when parents picked up ship cards.
• Pictures of passengers not taken at check-in but just before going on board created last bottleneck.
• Tags to group bags worked well. Took less than 10 minutes to find all bags off the ship.
• Grouping of passengers also worked well.
• Off ship, loaded, and out of parking in half hour.
Baggage to Staterooms
• Best description of baggage service on board was absolute chaos! Bags were not delivered to stateroom. Room stewards who were to deliver bags were pre-occupied with getting rooms ready after disinfecting program.
• Most passengers had to find their bags, and then drag them over the hundreds of other passenger bags that clogged hall and stairway entrances. Since boat still docked, Baltimore fire marshal should have been called because of blocked hallways and stairs.
• Adding frustration to chaos was the fact that many bags were “impounded” because of items prohibited by RCL but allowed by other cruise lines. It took hours before people realized that their bags were impounded by security and were being held on Deck 1 aft. None of our bags were delivered to our stateroom.
• Omelet station crowded, but chefs fast, cheerful and good!
• Fruit was fresh-cut and plentiful
• Orange juice was not fresh-squeezed like other cruise lines, but good nonetheless.
• The so-called quick, casual dining option was a nightmare. When RCL removed the buffet lines and installed the separate, themed food venues, it created absolute chaos. Everyone tried to go everyplace at the same time—a lot of jostling and pushing, spilled plates, etc. Adding to the chaos was the fact that 2,400+ people descended on this restaurant when coming on board. There was no place else to go. Finding a place to sit was impossible unless someone befriended you, as happened for us with a wonderful couple from Alberta Canada. On days at sea, this situation was repeated.
• Fresh-squeezed orange juice cost $2.50 per glass, plus 15% gratuity. Other cruise lines do not charge for fresh-squeezed.
• Early morning coffee and juice delivered on-time. Coffee strong and hot!
• No room service menu in stateroom. Room service staff referred us to channel 28 with a scroll of very basic, limited offerings. Other big negative was that RCL only allowed suites to order from dining room daily menus.
• EXCELLENT in all respects—from staffing to prompt filling of orders, to food quality. In our opinion, the dining room and its staff “saved” the cruise.
• Being notified by letter that we were to be out of our stateroom for four hours for “refurbishing of the furniture.” We later learned that this was to replace a section of mirror in our bathroom, not to refurbish furniture. Furniture was orange and was tattered.
• Destination staff continued to list tours at Cape Kennedy that were cancelled because of the shuttle launch two days later.
• Ship staff continued to try justify why we couldn’t go to Key West, when the reason was obvious—1,300 kids on board headed for Walt Disney World.
In sum, the Enchantment of the Seas should be dry-docked next week, not next year. It is ill-equipped for the additional passengers, based on the casual dining configuration presently. Unless it is, the hope for a positive cruising experience will be dashed on the rocks.