We sailed the Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) out of Baltimore. Great port to sail from, easy access, easy parking, etc. Nice ship, not in bad shape, some challenges getting from aft to forward on some decks - required going up or down one level, but not a major problem.
We had an oceanview room, deck 2, forward. Not much movement, just enough to lull you to sleep at night. But the climb up the stairs in the morning to deck 9, Windjammer Cafe, was tough to do after about the 4th day. Must have been all the food I ate. We try to only use the elevators when first boarding with carry-ons and when leaving with carry-ons as well. Room was nice, nothing extraordinary but planty of storage space, just what one would expect on a ship. Older tube TV, but the downside was that there was no interface to check our onboard account using the TV - you had to go to the Guest Relations Desk to do that.
The food onboard in all of the venues was very good, not gourmet, but More
again, what we expected of Royal Caribbean. Food was available at all hours, after 2am one could order from room service. My only disappointment was that there was escargot at dinner only on 2 nights, and we had to ask for the 2nd night. I was spoiled by Celebrity last year having had escargot EVERY night in the MDR.
Bar service on this ship was mediocre to poor. When you consider that a ship obtains a majority of it's onboard revenue from bar sales, the beverage department on the Enchantment seems to be running at a loss. No bar on the ship ever had more than one bartender at any time, and this caused long waits when the bartender had more than 2 people to serve, make their drinks, create a bill to be signed, yada yada. I guess I'm just used to American bar service, where no one goes unnoticed at a bar for more than 30 seconds. But again, not a terrible issue, since it kept my bar tab for the voyage lower than usual.
Entertainment on the ship was terrific, every night there was a good show, and there were 2 late night adult themed shows as well. Kudos to the entire entertainment staff - job well done!
Labadie, Haiti - Their private island, lots of nice beaches, food was fair - a bit cold, brought from the ship. But we were there for the sun and sand and surf. Don't let the vendors intimidate you - just them "no comprende" or "no money".
Puerto Rico - we were there from 2pm to 10pm, which allowed for some time to walk around Old San Juan, see some sights, and then have dinner at a traditional local restaurant. We chose Toro Salao, in Old San Juan, and 6 of us had a terrific meal, great food and drinks, in a wonderful atmosphere. This restaurant is highly recommended by us, check out their web site.
St Thomas - we had a snorkel trip planned, but the weather was not co-operating so it was cancelled. We spent the afternoon walking around in the shops near the pier.
St Maarten - we did a land and beach tour with Joyce Prince and it was one of the best excursions we have done in St Maarten, having visited there at least 4 times. Joyce has a web site, you can google her. She personally does the tour and has exceptional knowledge of the island, both the French and Dutch sides. She will tailor the tour to whatever your group wants - we were a group of 10 and had a terrific time. Also took us to a terrific local restaurant on the French side, Lolos, where we had a great lunch. Consider Joyce Prince to be HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! Of course, we made sure to visit Orient Beach, the clothing optional beach, where it apparently was senior citizen day - average age was 60!! (that's all I'll say about that!!)
Antigua - (pronounced Anteega) we booked the Best of Paradise Island Tour with Gordon. Our tour with Gordon began at 9:30 am.We had no problems finding Gordon--at his designated meeting place-- on the boardwalk, wearing his straw hat. About 20 minutes later, we boarded Gordon's bus. We were a group of 17 which I put together on Cruise Critic before we sailed.
Gordon had a cooler filled with soft drinks and water. As we departed from the cruise ship pier, we drove through St. John's, the capital of Antigua and passed the monument of V.C. Bird, the first Prime Minister of Antigua and its sister island Barbuda. Gordon then proceeded to take us to an abundance of historical sites in Antigua, and provided an excellent narration of facts and anecdotes.
Our last stop was Long Bay Beach. We spent 1 hour there. Great beach, very clean, water was crystal clear, no hucksters on the beach.
During the course of the day Gordon offered us delicious sour bread with cheese and fresh, juicy pineapple, and beef and chicken patties, and whatever beverages we wanted (soft drinks). Overall, we had a great day touring the island with Gordon. Gordon was an excellent guide. He kept his eye on everyone in the group and explained points of interest at all the stops.
Tortola - this port had to be the highlight of our cruise. A number of us had made arrangements with a local tour operator for a beach/snorkel tour. But in late October the operator stopped communicating with everyone - no emails, no operating phone number. One person in our group came to the rescue. He quickly arranged to charter a catamaran which was large enough for 34 of us, plus a captain and mate - 2 delightful people, who served us well. We had the catamaran to ourselves for over 5 hours, all the liquid refreshment we wanted - water, soda, beer, rum punches and painkillers!! We sailed to one beach, got over an hour of beach time there, then went to another part of Jost Van Dyke to snorkel for about an hour or so. Lots of great coral and fish to be seen in that area. On the catamaran we sang, we sunned, we drank and had a terrific time with our group.
All in all, this was a great cruise, and little blips we encountered were all overshadowed by the good ports, great people and fun time we had. Less
Enchantment of the Seas Cruises to the Southern Caribbean