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Enchantment of the Seas - Enchanting!
From check-in to our departure, we totally enjoyed this cruise, its ports and its entire staff!
Though the ship is aging and has a few bumps and bruises, it is well maintained by a fine crew. The Inside Cabin is small at 145 sq. ft. and the shower is minuscule. However, I cannot compliment this crew enough. The captain is the best captain of any cruise we've sailed. Professionally he brought us through some rough seas and personally he was always enjoyable and accessible. He even visited the quilting group on board for about a half hour! He was happy and jovial and gave us some very fun words of wisdom each day. Almost every person with a RCI name tag on was personable and friendly and happy!
The cruise director, John was a step above as well. He and his wife were always quite entertaining and never pushy. The shows provided each evening were high quality, especially the ships own dancers and singers. DO NOT MISS THEIR PRODUCTIONS! From the stage sets, to More
the costumes, to the choreography, the band, the lighting and the talent - they were fabulous.
The casino was fun too. All of the dealers were personable and made me losing my money not seem so bad!
The ports of call were good. We are simply beach bums as we have done all of the excursions that we care to do. We found nice beaches at each port. Sorry I cannot report on shore excursions.
The food, except for Chops Grill - see below, was exceptional. The variety and quality were among the best on any ship. The service was outstanding - never rushed, but always highly professional.
Maybe silly to some, but both my husband and I commented on the ships temperature all around the ship - not hot or cold, always comfortable. We also found the Enchantment a nice size and easy to navigate - no pun intended!
One of the highlights of the trip was participating (for the first time) in Cruise Critics Meet & Mingle. KUDOS to the volunteers who arranged the activities!!! We had a grab bag, a cabin crawl so you could see all the different types of cabins, our own slot tournament and one of the organizers even made us our own decorated door sign. The veterans even had gifts for us in their cabins. It sure made for a fun day at sea. The Enchantment even gave away some prizes at the Meet & Mingle too.
We did NOT have a good experience in Chops Grill however. The service was poor, my husband's steak was not edible as it was full of grizzle. My steak was nothing special at all - surely not one of "the best steaks at sea." The appetizers were very good as was the dessert. We visit the special dining rooms on all of the ships we sail and this one would rank right at the bottom. We did not complain, but were never asked if all was to our liking. We feel that the waiter should have noticed my husbands steak was not consumed - though it did look a mess on the plate from trying to cut it! Then as we were eating our desserts our waiter did apologize for his poor service and went on to complain about Royal Caribbean and how they are short staffed always. So, poor service, bad food and an inefficient and complaining waiter. Certainly not worth the $30 pp surcharge - not even close! This was the only RCI employee that let us down. I guess nobody is perfect.
Overall, we found the Enchantment of the Seas very enchanting and will return some day. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
SAMANA - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. Since Samana is not one of the choices, I chose Dominica as it was the closest choice.
I booked online at Cayenas del Mar. They had an All Inclusive Beach Break for $30, a 10% discount for booking online, but a surcharge for using your credit card and tax. All that said, I think it came to about $32 pp after all was said and done.
Though it's not quite "All-inclusive" it did include quite a bit! All inclusive is boat transportation, beach chair, two drink tickets pp (water, soda, beer or Cuba Libre, which is rum and coke), snorkel & mask for 30 minutes and a lunch buffet. They even offered us towels!
We were suppose to meet someone with a sign with our name on it at 11:00 am. We got there a little early as we tendered in from the ship. We were the only two that booked and were met by a young man. He said since we were only two he would drive us to Cayenas del Mar in his vehicle which took about 10 minutes. Since he was born and raised in New York, he spoke English and explained everything to us. Also, since we were the only two, there was no buffet, but we were told we could order one appetizer and two entrees off of their regular menu. I must say that I was a little disappointed because I was hoping to take a bit of everything to taste.
Around 1:00 pm we ordered the Fried Yucca topped with seafood - delish! My husband had the whole fried sea bass and I the chicken with special Dominican spices. All was very tasty. When we asked about dessert, he said it was not included. I wanted the coconut pie and he said that he'd throw it in for us. Nice gesture. We were able to eat this right at the beach. Fabulous!
When we arrived the beach was totally engulfed in the sun. We asked about an umbrella, which they got for us right away. They were quite accommodating. They also brought the snorkel and mask for us to use the entire day.
Though the excursion was from 11:00 until 3:00 pm, we asked if we could stay until 4:00. No problem. To top it off, when we were leaving, we wanted to buy some rum. He went out of his way to take us to a grocery store and even went in to help us find what we wanted. He paid in Dominican money and we reimbursed him.
During our day long stay, one of the ship's excursions stopped here for a short beach/bathroom break. We actually met up with our dinner mates, which was fun.
The beach was lovely, though there were some rocks to deal with. Soon we found the sandy parts and enjoyed the warm waters. Apparently this is a private beach, while on the other side of the pier it is public. We walked down there to see more people from the ship. I'm not sure what excursion they were on, but I believe it was part of an excursion.
The facilities were nice and clean including the rest rooms.
I would highly recommend this excursion if you are interested in simply a beach break.
We arrived at our scheduled time of 3:00 pm and made no arrangements for a shore excursion. We enjoyed walking around Old San Juan, took the free trolley round trip and gambled a little at the Sheraton right across the street from the port.
We ate at a real "hole in the wall" restaurant that served outstanding Puerto Rican food - Punta de Vista. It is located across from cruise pier 3/4. They had $1 Heinekens, which they called tiny Heinis - they were 12 oz. - so not so tiny! We had Churrasquitos - DO NOT MISS THESE!!! We also had some chips with cheese and chicken. They were good, but we should have just gotten two orders of the Churrasquitos! We heard someone raving about the fish tacos too but we did not try them.
Don't miss this spot. If you are docked in Old San Juan, it is easy to walk to.
What's not to like about St. Thomas? There is great shopping at this port, but we did not partake. Of course liquor is a great bargain. Personally, I like to buy my jewelry close to home where I feel they are quite competitive with pricing. Others find it a great bargain.
On this visit to St. Thomas we simply came off of the ship intending to take a taxi to Magens Beach. We were prepared to pay $8 pp. As we were deboarding the ship, I saw a man standing with a sign that said beach break and I asked where he was going. He said Magens Beach. I asked if he'd take us for $8 pp each way and when would we have to return. He said he'd be happy to take us for that price and we could return whenever we wanted as there is always transportation constantly leaving the beach. We hopped on. Most of the people on this vehicle had purchased the ships excursion and they had to return at a designated time with the driver. We enjoyed the freedom to return whenever we wanted. We tipped the driver a few dollars each way. The drive there and back is stunning.
Magens Beach was beautiful. We rented beach chairs for $5 each and there was plenty of room in both sunny and shady spots. The water and sand were beautiful as was the vista.