My boyfriend and I sailed on the Enchantment of the Seas 9 day cruise out of Baltimore to celebrate my 40th birthday and had a great time.
The Port of Baltimore was easy. We drove there and parked in the lot. It was $15 per day and very convenient. The system for directing people where to go in the port was fantastic. They even took our bags out of the trunk for us! The check in process was very fast and easy. Much better than what I had previously experienced departing from the ports in Fort Lauderdale and New York. We were on board the ship within about half an hour from arriving at the cruise terminal.
Our cabin was ready when we boarded, approximately 1:30 pm.
We stayed in cabin 2542, a "large" oceanview stateroom. The cabin was nice, but had less storage space than what I had encountered on either of my previous two cruises. The cabin attendant provided the perfect balance of attentive service without being intrusive or pushy.
The food was generally good, but not great. The huge fresh salad bar at lunch in the formal dining room was superb. Dinners in the main dining room were quite good with a nice variety. The beef seemed universally overcooked, but we quickly learned to compensate for that by ordering our steaks rarer than we normally do in restaurants. I generally prefer my steaks prepared medium well and was happy with what the ship called medium rare. Once we figured out the trick to ordering our steaks cooked the way we prefer, we were much happier with our meals.
One day at lunch I ordered what the menu described as "Singapore Noodles" and was very disappointed. What I received was nothing like any Singapore Noodles I've ever encountered. They served me a plate of what appeared to be linguini noodles in soy sauce. It was terrible. Three people at our table ordered the same dish and we all sent it back. The staff was friendly and accommodating about bringing us a different lunch selection. That was the only terrible uneatable meal we encountered. One day they did substitute salmon for trout without bothering to mention they were out of trout. Fortunately, I like salmon -- but it would have been nice if they had mentioned the change before I ordered (salmon wasn't even on the menu that day).
We ate one dinner in Chops Steakhouse, their upscale ($30 per person) venue and had a really wonderful meal.
The entertainment was ok. One of the comedians was truly terrible (Rod Long). The activities director who introduced him was MUCH funnier than the comedian. I don't think anyone in the audience laughed at any of his jokes. He was that bad. I don't know if he was having a seriously off night of he is just not funny. Based on what we saw it's hard to believe anyone would hire him as a comedian, so I'd like to think he was having an off night.
The other comedian, the illusionist, and all of the other singing/dancing entertainers we saw were of a MUCH better quality.
The trivia games and game show activities were great fun and very entertaining. Do not miss the love and marriage games how.
The library is stocked with books and board games, but unfortunately lacks even a single table large enough to play a game on. We packed a few of our own games and discovered we could use the tables in the back of Chops steakhouse during the day. We also found some of the large coffee tables in the Centrum atrium area on decks 5 and 6 were adequate for playing games. However, at a certain point in the afternoon the overly amplified flute and violin music makes sitting in the atrium area highly unpleasant. The music could have been very nice if it had been at about a third or half the volume. It was so loud we couldn't hear each other talk two stories above where the music was being performed.
The bars and bartenders were great. The drink of the day was a good value at $6.25. Drinks were not overpriced - a Tanqueray and tonic was $5.75. The menu of drinks in the Schooner bar was creative and large. Several drinks even featured elderflower liquour (St. Germain), which was a very pleasant surprise. Try the Elderphire.
The shops were large and well stocked. The duty free prices on board seemed to be genuinely comparable to what we found in port. They had a nice selection of jewelry, much of it at reasonable prices.
The one disappointment in the shops was they advertised a special on "Sea Glass" which turned out to be ugly glass figurines and not at all what I think of as sea glass (beautiful pieces of glass that have been tumbled and polished in the ocean.)
Our cruise stopped in Port Canaveral, Key West, Nassau, and Coco Cay. We were sorry we got off the ship in Port Canaveral. Unless you go to one of the Disney parks, there really isn't much of interest in this port. Key West was very fun and Nassau was also nice. Coco Cay was our favorite port by far. They have a great beach for snorkeling and there are lots of interesting things to see in the water there including part of a sunken ship and an airplane, in addition to a nice variety of marine life. They do require all snorkelers to wear an inflatable vest that can be rented for $6, which annoyed me as a very experienced snorkeler. There are 3 lifeguards watching the snorkel area - it was the most supervised snorkeling experience I've encountered anywhere and would be great place to learn to snorkel - but had enough to interest someone more experienced. The hammocks on Coco Cay were also quite relaxing.
The biggest disappointment of the trip was when my iphone was lost/stolen on the last at sea day. I think I know what happened to it, but will probably never know for sure. I think I had it sitting next to my coffee on the end table in the Centrum deck and someone took it when I wasn't paying attention. I didn't realize it was no longer in my possession until several hours later when I went pull it out of my bag to charge it. The lost and found system on the ship leaves a lot to be desired. They had me write a 2 line log entry in a large binder with all of the items that had been lost/stolen on board. When I inquired what would happen if my iphone was found after we had left the ship they gave me a blank piece of paper and suggested I write a note about what I lost and how to contact me. I asked about a phone number I might call to follow up and they suggested I look it up myself on the website when I got home. Things can be lost/stolen anywhere - but keep a close eye on valuable belongings.
And don't miss the show on the last night. They show a very fun video of highlights and photos from the week.
Overall it was a great vacation. I'm already flirting with booking another cruise out of Baltimore for next year.