79 Baltimore to Bahamas Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We have a one year old daughter and live one hour from Baltimore, thus the idea of taking 5 bags of baby crap by plane to Miami or by trunk to Maryland left us at the Baltimore Cruise Terminal. We've been on several cruises on new ... Read More
We have a one year old daughter and live one hour from Baltimore, thus the idea of taking 5 bags of baby crap by plane to Miami or by trunk to Maryland left us at the Baltimore Cruise Terminal. We've been on several cruises on new and old ships but are not stuck up when it comes to expectations. We knew that we would get lackluster ports (Port Canaveral, Nassau, CocoCay) and an older/smaller ship compared to the luxury megaships going to more beautiful Caribbean ports leaving from Florida. Here are my observations, hope they help you make the right decision for you. Departing from the Baltimore port is hectic in that the port/staff handle like two departures a week compared to busier ports. Dropping baggage and passengers off and going to park was relatively easy (you park literally steps away for $15/day) but the line was long at 11:30AM and moving slow. Luckily we had my father with us and they have a separate handicapped line so we snuck through within 15 minutes. This was the week before Spring Break, so there were few children and a lot of 30-55 yr olds with your obligatory seniors as well. Leaving from Baltimore you had a lot of locals and PA/Pittsburgh folks Our cabin was a bit larger than the tiny interior rooms we've had in the past, a large picture window offers less of a "beautiful view" and more of a way to know if it's day or night (and makes the room less tomblike). With a RCL provided pack and play for the baby we had no excess room but made do. The shower was small but servicable for an average sized adult, it was a basic cruise cabin room. The steward, Isreal, was always good about freshening up the room but we didn't make many demands. The nicest part of the ship is the Solarium, a glass enclosed pool on the 9th deck. Not only can you lounge in comfort even on cold sea days but the Park Cafe is in the rear of the complex which has good sandwiches and snacks throughout the day and late night. Of course there are people who throw a towel on a chair in the morning to save the seat to use 2 hours later. I recommend getting there earlier, its adults only but on the sea days they offer a family swim time period for the kids. We usually eat in the main dining room every dinner because the food is much better than a buffet....why eat beef stroganoff when they're serving prime rib? The wait staff in the dining room were excellent, the head waiter made sure to find out what our daughter liked and had the staff cook baby food like mashed sweet potatoes every night. At least 8 waiters stopped nightly to dote on our daughter, they all love kids and likely miss their own. The quality of the food was good, there was never a dish I did not enjoy and like I said the selection included good beef/seafood/etc that isn't found on a buffet. The few meals we ate on the buffet were OK, but the food was average and the size of the buffet was small for a cruise ship this size leaving not a lot of selection and not enough seating at most meals. We snuck more than one lunch/snack at the Park Cafe which was fast and painless. We did not pay for the Chops restaurant ($30/person), my father paid $15 for the filet served in Chops to be served in the dining room and enjoyed it. We usually go to all the shows, some art auctions, and talks/etc but with a 1 year old we spent most of the time entertaining. The nursery was installed this winter during a refurb and offers infant care for $8/hour. Most cruiselines have kids programs that do not offer many infant options outside of Disney and RCL ships with nurseries and this is part of why we selected this cruise. We only had her in the nursery daycare for 5 hours in Nassau while I dove and my wife swam with the dolphins, they seemed capable and she was the only one in there since there was few children on a cruise a week before school has their vacation. The next week they said was slated to bring 900 children on board....ouch. The diversions I can review are the casino which had blackjack at $6 minimum (odd amount), craps at $5 minimum and friendly dealers. My wife enjoyed the Blue Lagoon Dolphin Encounter and I dove a 1 tank dive with Bahama Divers I booked on my own (the cruise docked at 1PM, too late for most dive options). At CocoCay I dove again, a shore dive with only 3 participants led by a divemaster to 30 feet. There was an octopus, huge eagle ray, and unbelievably a 7 foot manatee that followed us for 30 minutes allowing us to pet him. It was the best dive experience to date for me and only $55 with equipment, a bargain. Cococay is nice, the buffet lunch is average, but finding a hammock to doze in during a cold March back home is what doing this cruise was all about Overall, the ship isn't huge and is several years old but is holding together well. If you have been on cruises and have high expectations, fly to Florida and book on a new ship with crazy features like skating rinks. If you want a quick escape and the ease of a hassle free option don't hesitate if you can get a good rate Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Let me start by saying that I am a fan of Celebrity Cruise Line, but that in no way has tarnished my review. My DW, son, d-I-l, and a dear friend traveled from Hudson, NY to Baltimore by train to meet the ship. Upon arrival in Baltimore, ... Read More
Let me start by saying that I am a fan of Celebrity Cruise Line, but that in no way has tarnished my review. My DW, son, d-I-l, and a dear friend traveled from Hudson, NY to Baltimore by train to meet the ship. Upon arrival in Baltimore, (the first time we used that port), we were directed to a line by what deck we were on. My son, and friend were on deck 2 and were sent to a line and my DW and I were on 7. We made it through the line in 25 minutes and upon getting to the front of the line we were told that by being Crown and Anchor members we should never have been made to wait. This was not the end of the world but, it was a lack of attention to detail. We made our way to the buffet for lunch and a young boy dumped a number of dinner rolls on the floor. I have been on many a cruise and the staff would generally converge on picking up a "spill", not on this ship. Wait staff walked over the problem. Okay, I thought this was just a management issue, no attention to detail... We had breakfast out by the pool one morning at 9:00 AM and sat and had coffee, catching up on our hectic lives, and saw that many poolside tables were vacant but not bussed for over two hours. Staff were all around and walking by the tables and not cleaning them off. NO ATTENTION TO DETAIL. We had a balcony cabin. Now I know that maintenance is an important part of upkeep on a seagoing vessel, but we were given a note that our balcony would have work done on it while we were at sea. We were in two ports where painting could have been completed. The only time we could have enjoyed the balcony was when we were at sea the last two days and this was never considered. Again, attention to detail! I took a picture of confetti that was in my cabin when we arrived and that was still there when we disembarked. You know...detail! Now that I have brought up these errors, I will tell you that the main dining room staff and the food therein were fantastic. We elected the "my time" dining option and found ourselves asking for the same wait staff each night. They made the cruise. We also elected to go to CHOPS restaurant and I would recommend this to all passengers. It is truly an experience. I am not yet "sold" on Royal Caribbean. Did I HATE the cruise, no not at all. Is there plenty things that could be improved on, you bet. So, that being said...please don't think I'm judging the whole line by my two Royal cruises. I am not. I am merely stating some facts. Draw your own conclusions. Is this enough to change your thought process for picking a cruise ship? It is up to you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Second time sailing with RCI - with good memories of the first cruise we went for a relaxing and fun New Years cruise. Disappointing from stepping on the ship to just before stepping off the ship. Food - mediocre most of the time ... Read More
Second time sailing with RCI - with good memories of the first cruise we went for a relaxing and fun New Years cruise. Disappointing from stepping on the ship to just before stepping off the ship. Food - mediocre most of the time with a few good meals. For a vegetarian the meals were at best mediocre. The Windjammer Buffet has limited selection - the pasta was overcooked and lukewarm. The salads were decent - but alot of the speciality salads had meat in them. None of the place cards put out to tell you what you were serving yourself included any indication if there was meat in them. Only on the second last day did I enjoy a curry - which was delicious and hot. The dining room - forced to use the mytime dining as there was no available main seating. At dinner - it was disorganized and the first day the servers where useless. We were crammed into a table for two by the cold drafty window and immediately told to order as the kitchen was closing in 10 minutes. At lunch I ordered the pasta special with pesto and given to me 10 minutes after every one's orders was served was a red pasta that was like the buffet and terrible. The server left before I could say anything and did not show up again until serving the dessert - which has a frozen centre. We requested a change in seating and server for the next night. My husband's success with the meat dishes was slightly better than mine. We finally found a good server/assistant server and the service was better although the only good meal was on New Years Eve - freshly made and properly cooked pasta. They did what they could to help suggest a decent meal. Although we could not always eat at their tables because of the mytime set up. The poolside cafe was ok, but with long lines for the salad bar. Lunch in the dining room was not good and you only had one entry to order or try your luck at the salad bar - I tried both vegetarian options and they were both disappointing. Forget about ordering a salad and entre. Pools - travelling without kids we were looking forward to the piece and quite of the solarium pool - adults only. Well either people cannot read or they don't pay any attention to the rules - no children. There were kids in there all of the time - not just family swim time. The staff if you could find them, did not enforce the rules. There was no peace and quite unless we retreated to our cold drafty room. Dealing with screaming children, teenagers running around or laying on the stairways was not alot of fun. We went on a Disney Cruise and hardly saw any kids on that cruise than on Enchantment. Activities - during the sea days you would expect more activities - on the last at sea day there were hardly any - and because we were travelling back into the cold weather everyone was in the lounges. The Trivia was a joke - the prizes were pathetic and once again staff did not enforce the rules - one team that won had nine people in it - when there were supposed to be teams of 3-6. The answers to some of the questions were wrong. Of course you cannot double check and if you did using the ship's Internet it would have cost you more than the prize. Excursions - very few options for interesting excursions. Shows - mediocre song and dance group. Comics were horrible - the Cruise Director was funnier. The magician and his wife and the juggler and his wife were the best things about the cruise - of course they only appeared once in the show schedule. Health - there was an outbreak of Norovirus which the ship tried to keep contained and said that they were doing more to keep it like that - but I saw very little extra precautions in the public areas - some areas did not even have the dispensers. Not surprised to see an outbreak and one woman admitted to me that she and her husband came on the ship sick - and must have lied on their forms. I won't be going on another RCI cruise anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
that stood out this time. Unfortunately, not always in a good way. This was our second EN cruise(same cabin). Embarkation was as smooth and painless as I remembered it, and we were literally the first people on board. arrived about ... Read More
that stood out this time. Unfortunately, not always in a good way. This was our second EN cruise(same cabin). Embarkation was as smooth and painless as I remembered it, and we were literally the first people on board. arrived about 1030, were boarding by 1130. this was her second cruise post refurbishment and while overall the improvements made for a nicer venue, there are some issues. First: the new Centrum is GORGEOUS and has a much better layout. Second: the new full OV rooms on decks 7 and 8 are now fully functional. however, they built a privacy wall and as such the hallway by the elevators feels very claustrophobic. Third: Park Cafe: terrific, with caveat. it totally destroyed any semblance of the Solarium being Kid free as entire families would camp out there for lunch. But the new food options I though were much improved over the old, sad basics that were there before. yes, the Roast beef on kemmelwick roll is as good as everyone raves about. Fourth: the new Diamond and Concierge Lounges are amazing, with plenty of room and comfy chairs. Upon first arriving to our cabin, it was stifling..as in roasting hot. the A/c was not functioning. we dropped off our carry ons, and went to do our duty at the Muster drill. went back to change for dinner, but still no sign of our luggage in the hall. minor panic, until Reynaldo appeared and informed us he had already brought them inside. He was attentive all week, and we lacked for nothing. Before we could say anything, he informed us he had already called maintenance about the A/c. After dinner it was less stifling, and the entire thermostat was changed the next morning while we were at breakfast. despite it being Baltimore in December, Muster was held outside. Thankfully, there were few stragglers and it was cut a little short and we only suffered for a few minutes. Sailaway was in the Viking Crown, a perennial favorite place to be. the new Giant TV on the pool deck was easily visible, although there was no sound. New menus; better than I had expected, as frankly I was a little leery about the changes I had seen. but a HUGE problem was the menus listed on the touch screen bore little resemblance to what was served that day. Also, Formal night was moved to the 24th, as opposed to the first sea day. Port Canaveral day. as such the menu choices did not reflect the atmosphere( not that many people bothered). the NYS strip one evening was poorly cooked and very disappointing, but was the only truly terrible meal all week. the duck was incredible and the prime rib both nights was impeccable each time. Hubby scarfed down as much of the seafood entrees and appetizers as he could and never left an empty plate. Entertainment: the new arial show for the Centrum was not ready due to there not being enough time to install the safety gear. the comic on the opening night was funny, but his 'adult' show the next night left us flat. the production shows were okay at best. I didn't see the need to have 6 different singers to each sing a line. College Bowl games were shown fairly frequently on the Big screen as well as Boleros. In room options sucked. the same three movies all day every day, and half the time were not in American. 6 channels showed the same expose's on Charlie Sheen and Heidi Klum..in 6 different languages, with and without subtitles. Hubby went to trivia several times and was mildly entertained. KIds: 800 on board. and yes you knew it. elevator buttons all pushed: check. Pre teen and teen boys running around like hellions in the halls: check. Teens camped out on stairs giving you dirty looks if you told them to get out of your way: check. I let a few things slide as it was a holiday cruise with many large family groups, but there were limits.. to passenger and crew tolerance levels alike. due to the cold on most of the sea days, the Solarium was opened up to kids from 12-2 and again form 4-6.. although there was little enforcement in between, Public Service announcement: no your walkie talkies do NOT work on board and after the fifth time shouting "Hello" into the speaker it gets annoying. Crew: as usual, friendly and eager to please. Reyno the Concierge was battling the last remnants of the Flu, and the Captain and Food and bev manager succumbed as well as our assistant waiter. not too many passengers though. they all blamed the recent dry dock. Ports: basically, a waste. mostly because of the dates. Port Canaveral Xmas eve. did a ship excursion and did get to see dolphins and tons of birds( and manatee noses). Nassau was Xmas day and 98% of the island was shut down. since our ship's excursion tour guide NEVER SHOWED, we were apologized to profusely and had OBC for the amount paid on our folio before the end of the day. the Officer in charge also promised he'd never use that operator again. CoCo Cay.. again, a waste to us as all there is to do is beach stuff and that's about it. the BBQ( basically, the only option for lunch) was decent but that's all we did. Overall, I don't think I'd do a Christmas cruise again, but even the little things that had slipped from the last time we were aboard will not keep us from continuing to sail with Royal. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We were looking to get away over the Christmas Holidays. Being an Elite class passenger, I had been attempting to find suitable arrangement to book a room on Celebrity Reflection out of Ft. Lauderdale. Alas, no good airline connections ... Read More
We were looking to get away over the Christmas Holidays. Being an Elite class passenger, I had been attempting to find suitable arrangement to book a room on Celebrity Reflection out of Ft. Lauderdale. Alas, no good airline connections were to be found. Therefore, we looked at RCCL Enchantment of the Seas out of Baltimore. Since we live in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, the drive is less than one hour to the port. Enchantment had just undergone a two-week overhaul in early December and boasted some nice improvements, plus being well cleaned up and painted. I found a guaranteed Junior Suite on the RCCL website and put it on 24-hour hold. I knew they had sold our all of their Junior Suites but this might be a cancellation. After my wife approved he cruise I called back to find out that since I was in the Diamond class of passenger it was likely we would be upgraded to a larger suite at the same price. A few weeks later, I did some digging and discovered we indeed had been assigned a Grand Suite around the corner from the forward elevators. I look at the floor plan a discovered a very large L shaped room with a huge balcony. This was looking good. I looked at the itinerary to discover we would make three port calls. One stop at Port Canaveral, FL, the next day, Christmas day on to Nassau, Bahamas and the next day to their so-called resort facility called Coco Cay, which was originally Little Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. It turns out that the Nassau stop was on Christmas day and no stores were open. There was the standard hawking of tours of the island, but I had my fill of touring Caribbean Islands. Embankment was smooth and well organized. We arrived early, got a close parking spot and registered quickly. Now the start of some of the disappointments. To get to the fourth level of the ship where the bridge crossed onto the ship required walking up a series of inclined ramps to deck four while being weighed down by my carry-on. Our bags were very late so our fabulous room attendant went to look for them, located them and delivered them to our room. Our room was lovely, large airy, vast storage space, three closets many drawers, and huge bathroom with tub, pullout couch opening into a double bed and a huge balcony. Heat and AC were well controlled. Note there is almost no shelf space as there is only one shelf in one closet that is filled with life preservers. There were no hooks to hang things and the hangers are the type that clip into the hanger holders on the clothes pole. Food was disappointing in that it was nowhere up to the level of food or service of Celebrity cruises. A New York strip steak was good for exercise for my left hand holing the knife and my jaws. It was marginal tis the best I can say about it. Service was adequate but the food delivery was sometimes slow. I suggested to the water he take the ladies orders first and then the gentlemen's and serve the ladies first and then the gentlemen... The suggestion was received by a deaf ear. The waiter continued to serve the opposite way, i.e. men first, women second. Desserts were good and some were even first class. Dinner at their special restaurant Chops was very good as the service was quite good, food was top notch and the portions were huge. It was a delightful dinner. Entertainment was outstanding. Their cruise director was a wonderful singer and dancer. The ships company of singers and dancers were fresh, exciting and genuinely talented. The shows included a comedian, who did an early show and an adult late night show, anther comedian on other nights doing a late night and the next day an evening show, a terrific juggler and a sensational magician. The production shows were beautifully produced and presented by artful dancing, rich melodic voices and an exuberant entertainment company. The lounge acts were run of the mill, using a European band to do American Pop and Country and Western music. Varied piano players and trios filled the bill in the other clubs on the ship. My favorite place was the Concierge Club. A retreat for passengers in Grand Suites and above and Diamond Pus category passengers. The butler service was very most accommodating with complimentary hors' dourves and cocktails of your choice served. The room had many chairs with plush seating and had a very clubby atmosphere. We stopped by another private lounge for Diamond and above passengers but did not find the level of ambience that we experienced in the Concierge Club. My wife used the Vitality Spa for a massage on a port call day. She informed my they were very accommodating and extended her time with no additional charge. The massage and treatment were wonderful. The most annoying thing about this cruise was the smoking policy in the casino and the associated lack of ventilation to expel the dormant drifting cigarette smoke. Since this not the United States, smoking is permitted in the casino on non-formal nights. A non-smoking policy is enforced on formal nights. After undergoing her two-week overhaul, nothing was done to improve the ventilation system in the Casino. I had to ask people to not smoking near me because of my asthma. The casinos are operated by sub-contractor to RCCL. Why they permit their employees to be exposed to tobacco smoke every time they work is in my opinion selfish, self-serving and bordering on criminal behavior. There should be a no-smoking policy at all times thorough the entre of the ship, including staff facilities. Disembarkation was smooth other than a minor backup a U.S. Customs. We were in-group 1 to disembark. We were off the ship and in our car in 30 minutes. After a short 45 minute ride to Rockville, Maryland and we arrived home. That's pretty good. For an older and smaller ship, it appears to be clean and well maintained. Were it not for the convenience of the Baltimore Cruise Port I would not sail Enchantment of the Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
A family group of 7 of us cruised on the Enchantment of the Seas from Baltimore to the Bahamas for the Christmas holiday cruise (12/22/12 - 12/29/12). We booked three cabins: (1) a single woman in an inside cabin, (2) two ... Read More
A family group of 7 of us cruised on the Enchantment of the Seas from Baltimore to the Bahamas for the Christmas holiday cruise (12/22/12 - 12/29/12). We booked three cabins: (1) a single woman in an inside cabin, (2) two retirees/grandparents in a deluxe oceanview cabin, and (3) a family of four (two children ages 2 and 4) in an adjoining deluxe oceanview cabin. The experience overall was very much a mixed bag. I would say more positives than not, but the negatives were really bad - especially the fiasco of a shore excursion to Disney World (never again). Pros: (1) Booking through American Express - AmEx Platinum has a partnership with Royal Caribbean, so we had VIP Priority embarkation and didn't have to wait in line at all. Using AmEx also gave us the additional perks of a free bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne in our room waiting for us, a free bottle of red wine in cabin, free dinner for two at Chops specialty restaurant, free soda plans for children (which we adults used!), and a $100 onboard credit. These were nice perks. (2) Embarkation - A breeze. Thanks to AmEx, we didn't have to wait in the long line at all. We parked around 12:00 PM and were onboard drinking champagne by 1pm. Our room was ready earlier than anticipated. NOTE: the Muster drill was outside, which was chilly. But the drill seemed a lot shorter than other drills we've participated in, so nothing unbearable. Just be sure to bring your coat in winter! (3) Dining - My Fair Lady / Main Dining. Our entire party agreed that the food onboard was generally excellent in the main My Fair Lady Dining Room. There were delicious seafood options every night, ranging from horseradish-crusted salmon, sea bass topped with shrimp, New England lobster tail one night, rock lobster tail the last night, barramudi, shrimp cocktail, snow crab legs salad, etc. Appetizers were delicious and varied, ranging from salads to soups to shrimp cocktail and everything in between. Desserts were hit or miss....cruises always seem to use the same congealed-pudding-type filling for every dessert, no matter what the flavor, chocolate, strawberry, etc. I am a not a steak eater, but my husband and other family members enjoyed the filet on the second night, but said the NY strips and prime rib in the My Fair Lady dining room were grizzly and tough. Chops Steakhouse - Specialty Dining: We did experience Chops steakhouse one night for dinner because we had a free voucher. I thought the seafood in the main dining room was actually better than Chops' options. But for steaks, Chops was far superior, according to my husband. And Chops also had better side dishes and much better desserts. Overall, I didn't think Chops was worth the upcharge, considering the My Fair Lady dining room food was probably the best we've had in a main dining room on a cruise. Windjammer Cafe -- We only ate lunch here on the first day/embarkation and it was decent, typical cruise buffet food. Some ethnic dishes, burgers, fried chicken, salad bar, pasta bar, fresh fruit, etc. Nothing to write home about, but not bad either. Reminiscent of college cafeteria food. We did have several breakfasts in the Windjammer, which were decent but not outstanding. Similar to a free hotel breakfast with rubbery waffles and pancakes. I will say that the one delicious breakfast option at Windjammer was the egg bar, when the chefs would custom make any type of omlette or egg dish for you. But this require waiting in line (sometimes long). We also liked that Windjammer had turkey sausage in addition to the beef/pork options. Breakfasts in My Fair Lady were superior, if you had the time and patience for a sit-down. Park Cafe -- This was the snackbar type option to go to near the pool when the other dining areas were closed. Apparently Park Cafe is a new option that was just installed a couple of weeks before our cruise, while the boat was in dry dock. There is a bagel bar in the morning, oatmeal, and grab-and-go breakfast sandwiches and panini, similar to what you would see in a Starbucks pastry case, same for muffins and danishes. For lunch/afternoon/evenings there are pre-made sandwiches, panini, soups, and salads. My husband had a particularly good asian shrimp noodle salad. I had a couple of panini that were delicious. A nice addition for a quick no-hassel meal or snack. Ben and Jerrys / Coffee - We didn't go to these because they required upcharges. (4) Entertainment- for a smaller scale ship out of Baltimore, I have to hand it to the entertainment on this cruise! The cruise director, Luke, is a MADMAN...seriously, this guy has more energy and talent then most large-scale Vegas acts. And he is a hottie, too! :) I will never forget how he lead the 70s Disco Party with other staff dressed up like the members Village People, from head to toe in fireman, indian, sailor outfits, bare chested, dancing and singing. Hilarious. True, genuine, energy. This guy loves his job and is great at it. He was a delight to the cruise! The other entertainment was also quite fabulous, much to our surprise. We expected cheesy cabaret-type shows. And while, Yes, there were a couple of those (some of the cruise singers are just so-so), there were some arists and acts that completely stood out. There was a young juggling husband/wife team, who were incredible! The juggler was so into his passion, you could see the excitement and go-for-it attitude when he showed us all some of his tricks-in-progress (even when he missed the first time). The guy was amazing! There was also a magician on-board who, along with his wife/team, were the excellent quality of a Vegas-or-TV style show. It was real good stuff....and we are not gullible, and tend to be very critical/sarcastic with these types of things. We were very impressed by the entertainment onboard. Some of the entertainment singers were just ok. But some were standouts. We saw one show called "Can't Stop The Rock" which was a variety show of movie-themed songs. It was cheesy and pretty boring. The comedian was funny, but not outstanding. But the entertainment was worth it for the juggler and magician! Awesome! Maybe it was because this was Christmas week, but there seemed to be a very special energy on the boat. One of my favorite memories will be the Christmas Caroling in the centrum on Christmas Eve around 10:30 PM, with staff, entertainers, children, and passengers alike, all singing Christmas carols up and down 5-6 levels of the ship in the centrum, with the accompaniment of the ship's live orchestra. It was beautiful. There was also a really nice apperance by Santa, who took photos of the kids. And all children received a complementary gift from Santa. My two year old son received some Fisher Price Little People beach toys, and my 4 year old daughter received a reusable/insulated lunchbag. It was a nice gesture. (5) Ship overall - nicely decorated and well thought out. The centrum was especially nice, airy, bright. The pool decks were nice and not typically crowded (obviously part of the cruise was cold). On the nice days in port, everyone went off the boat, so the pools were nearly empty. There is a nice kiddie splash area, and a separate pool area for older children and adults. There is also a solarium pool that is supposedly adults-only, but because it's indoors and it was cold that policy was not enforced. The only complaint we had about the pool deck is that they have two HUGE scantron screens that blast music all day/night long. When we are lounging at the pool, we don't always want to be blasted by hip-hop music from Justin Bieber and Nicky Minaj. Even grandpa (who is semi-deaf in one year) asked them to turn down the freaking music! (6) Cabin steward - Our cabin steward Elmer was amazing. He went above and beyond to make our very cramped and crowded cabin livable and cheery. Between "decorating" the cabin with our kids' toys to making towel animals. He was a super nice guy and knew all our names within the first day. This guy was top knotch! He was trustworthy and gave us a good vibe. Most of the cabin staff were nice and friendly and helpful. (7) Kids Clubs. The cruise got SO much better for my husband and I for the second half when we decided to take a chance and enroll both our 4-year-old and 2-year-old in the kids club/nursery for a couple of nights, so we could enjoy the entertainmnet/shows and a dinner without food flying and fussing/wiggling/ overstimulated kids. At first we were not comfortable with the kids clubs...the first half of the cruise they were absolutely packed and we didn't trust the staff. But toward the second half/end of the cruise, the kiddie crowds thinned a bit. My daughter spent two evenings in the Aquanots club for children ages 3-5, and had a blast. They have a great evening program when you drop the kids off at 5:00pm and they will feed them dinner in the Windjammer (pizza and fries) and then entertain them with activities until midnight. And it's FREE! My 2-year-old son went to the nursery, which is a separate area for younger babies and toddlers under the age of 3 and not toilet trained. It was a great facility with a 4:1 ratio of childen:caregivers, lots of fisher price toys, cribs for resting/naps, climbing equipment, and a large screen TV with Dora the Explorer on it. We dropped him off at 5:45 PM, and they also fed him dinner and took care of him until about 10pm, after we finished watching the show. He had a great time. For overprotective parents like us, they gave us each a pager in case there were any issues whatsoever. We also inquired about bathroom breaks for our daughter (we didn't want any strangers taking her to the bathroom), and the policy is that children in the 3-5 club have to use the potty by themselves....no staff goes with them. They have a potty right in the aquanots club that the kids use. There is a charge for the nursery of $8/hour, which was a bargain, considering we pay our babysitter over 2x that amount. Both kids were happy to go to the kids club, and seemed well cared for. My husband and I peeked in on them both nights we used the services, and the kids were playing and happy. So for any nervous parents like us, I can recommend it. We were told in an emergency that our 4 year old would be brought to our muster station (she had a wristband she had to wear the entire cruise with her identification, room, and muster station number). For the infants, the staff carry the babies down to their respective muster stations and wait until parents arrive. (8) Coco Cay - This stop at Royal Caribbeans private island made the whole trip. It was a full beach day, relaxing, lots of chairs and space available, lots of things to do for young kids, great lovely beaches, and yummy BBQ lunch. I have read that many times if seas are rough RC will skip this port...how awful! It really is the best stop on the cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed the shopping, beaching, relaxing, and drinks. (9) Blue Lagoon Island in Nassau - This was a positive shore excursion experience. We took a nice 60-min boat ride to a little island lagoon near Nassau. Nice calm beach. Good lunch included in price. The only problem is that we only had about 2-3 hours on the lagoon because the port stop was relatively short. Our ship didn't get into Nassau until nearly 1pm and then we had to be back on board relatively early. But the ferry ride to blue lagoon island, and the experience on the island was very nice. Perfect for young children. Calm and safe. Cons: Shore Excursion. Port Canaveral - Walt Disney World Shuttle. I have no idea why Royal Caribbean even bothered to advertise a shore excursion to Walt Disney World for the stop in Port Canaveral. It was an expensive waste of time and money. The boat didn't get into port until 11am, we were off by 11:30am and it took an hour by bus to get to Disney. We got to the park at 1pm only to be told that the Magic Kingdom was CLOSED because the park had reached capacity and was full. This was the one stop my kids were really looking forward to and talking about for weeks in advance. You can imagine the tears from my daughter when she couldn't see the Magic Kingdom. And the upset parents, grandparents, and children all on the bus. Even worse, we were out $300 for park tickets and $100 for the bus ride. And we had to wait until 7pm to take the return bus back. We also had a character dining reservation in the Magic Kingdom that we couldn't get to because we couldn't get into the park. So I had to spend nearly an hour on the phone with WDW reservations trying to avoid a no-show penalty. It was an AWFUL experience! The bus didn't drop us off at the Magic Kingdom as promised, but instead took us to the WDW transportation hub and basically made us fend for ourselves. With two elderly grandparents and two young children, this was no easy feat. We ended up packed in the Animal Kingdom, which no one really cared to visit. And because we didn't want to have to wait until 7pm or 8pm for the return bus, we ended up shelling out nearly $200 for private transportation back to the boat. When I went the next day to the shore excursions desk to ask for a refund, the gentleman at the desk was rude and hostile. Apparently a lot of other families had complained about the Disney fiasco and he was not in a good mood. He started to write up a report for his supervisor, noting my complaints. When i started to read the report over his shoulder to make sure it was accurate, he yelled at me, put his hand over the computer screen, and said it was "private" and "not for me to read!" This is MY report, and I wanted to make sure it was accurate. I received a phone call the next day from a supervisor, saying I would be refunded the shore excursion bus ride, but I have yet to see the credit on my credit statement, and it's been nearly a week! Guess I need to call back on that one. The Bottom line - Don't bother with a Disney day trip as a shore excursion from Port Canaveral. The bus gets in way too late to enjoy anything. It's a waste of time and money. In fact, the Port Canaveral stop should just be skipped. It's not really warm there, there isn't a whole lot to do, etc. Royal Caribbean would be better off just skipping over it and going straight to the warm and tropical bahamas for another day. And don't bother with anything Disney during Christmas vacation week. The Magic Kingdom park was closed at capacity of 75,000 before 12 noon on both December 24 and I heard also December 25 and December 26 and December 27. The Animal Kingdom was packed body to body. We only got to go on two rides for the entire time we were there. And then we left. Save your money! Cabin - If we were in a deluxe oceanview cabin, I would hate to see the regular sized one. Soooooo small for a family of four with two young children and all their stuff. Especially since Santa paid a visit too. IMPORTANT NOTE FOR YOUNG FAMILIES: our cabin was technically able to sleep 4 however, this room was not equipped to host two young children under the age of 5. We had our two-year-old son in a pack n play, but there was nowhere for our 4-year-old daughter to sleep! The room had two pull-down beds from the wall, but we were told once we were onboard they are for children ages 8+. There was no sofa or sofabed in the room, despite that I was told that by Royal Caribbean reservations at least twice. So, my daughter had to sleep in the bed or on the floor(!) while my husband or I slept with in the pulldown bed. Not exactly romantic. So parents with young children....I would advise to upgrade to a family suite that has a sofabed or sofa for another young child to sleep on. I don't think Royal Caribbean customer service knows what they are talking about. I specifically asked and confirmed with them that the room had a sofa or sofabed for our daughter. They knew the ship and even knew our pre-selected cabin number. But there was NO sofa bed. Service - We opted to do the My Time Dining instead of a regular seating. And I think service suffered because of this. Not only did we have to prepay all our gratuities, but the service wasn't as good because we didn't get to know our waitstaff the way the routine seating times did. We had some servers who were excellent (Lakinder Singh from India - was an outstanding exception...he even cut our children's food for them!), but in general with the Mytime Dining we found the service to be sub-par. Some of the waitstaff seemed bothered or offended when we asked for extra napkins, an extra dessert for the kids, or there were problems like the wrong drink brought to us. Other of our requests were simply ignored! Breakfast service in My Fair Lady was downright rude at times. We found the service in Windjammer to be much nicer for breakfast. The cruise was packed and I think the servers were very hassled and overworked with so many people onboard. Ridiculous Upcharges - This really pissed us off. Sitting for breakfast in the My Fair Lady dining room, a server came by offering fresh squeezed orange juice. Of course we all said sure. Then he informed us that there was an upcharge of $2-$3 per juice. What? Did we not just pay for a cruise? This was not labeled on the menu. Same for coffee. I ordered a latte only to be told that there would be a $2-$3 upcharge for it. Again? It seems like Royal Caribbean was trying to upcharge us for everything. You want a better steak? $20 more. You want a lobster tail? $29 more. You want better coffee? $2. This happened over and over again. We expected the cruise line to push things like photographs, shops etc, but did NOT expect to pay for fresh squeezed orange juice. I will take the plain old regular juice, thanks. Wifi - In this day and age, there is no need to charge something like $7/min for Internet service. Thank goodness we had it in port. Crowds/illness - This was a very crowded boat, since the holiday cruise was sold out. Lots of sick people, too. And Lots of sick staff. The captain was sick. The shore excursions director was sick in the infimary. Mention of this staffer or that staffer being sick. Seems like everyone had the flu. They blamed it on the boat being in dry dock for the two weeks prior, but I didn't buy that. There definitely was something going around. Thankfully we avoided it...but not everyone did. The grossest was seeing some guy vomiting/hacking into a trash can right in front of the elevators on the first day just after embarkation. We all got into the elevators and prayed he stayed out. Also saw evidence of "illness" in the public restrooms. We made a point of using the bathroom in our stateroom with the kids or for us. Some of the public rooms were gross - for two days the hallway outside of the orpheum theater smelled like vomit. When we embarked, we all had to fill out a health form, certifying that no one you are traveling with has had flu-like or gastroinstestinal symptoms within the past week, otherwise they had to be evalated in the infirmary. I think TONS of people lied on that form. People were coughing and hacking all over the place. Thank God I brought along 3 canisters of antibacterial handwipes for the kids. This is another reason we avoided the buffet in Windjammer....lots of sick people touching tongs and coughing around the food. I actually saw one lady picking up food using her bare hands instead of the tongs. GROSS! Because it was so crowded and it was cold for 4/7 days of the cruise, the inside of the boat was usually packed. On the 6th day of the cruise, while we were at sea, my family spent 30 minutes looking around the boat for somewhere to sit. Every place was packed. On a warmer cruise, folks would be spread out more on deck. Casino - Location was right outside the orpheum theater, so you and your family (and kids) had to walk through a smokey casino back and forth to get to the shows. Poor placement. Also, poor that the casino was so smoky all the time. The smoked waffed everywhere into the theater and around the other public facilities. We appreciated the two "smoke free casino nights" that the boat had on formal nights. That gave my husband and me the opportunity to play a bit of blackjack without infecting our lungs. Overall, the cruise was an enjoyable time for our family. There were definitely some highlights but absolutely some lowlights. On a grade scale, I would give the food an A-, shore excursions a C, cleanliness of boat B-, restaurant service B-, Room service A. ports B-. Overall three stars. I don't think I would do a holiday cruise like this again. Too crowded. But I would cruise with Royal Caribbean again on a different ship to different, warmer, ports. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
A bit of background: DW and I are on both sides of 50 and pushing 20 cruises, this is our third on RCI (last RCI was about 4 or 5 years ago). Previous cruises were on the Grandeur out of New Orleans and the Adventure out of San Juan. ... Read More
A bit of background: DW and I are on both sides of 50 and pushing 20 cruises, this is our third on RCI (last RCI was about 4 or 5 years ago). Previous cruises were on the Grandeur out of New Orleans and the Adventure out of San Juan. We've lately been sailing mostly Princess (7? -- in June we did a 12day Med). Last Christmas we did an 11day HAL to Panama Canal and ABC islands. Pre-Day 1: Got into Chicago Union Station (Amtrak) around noon and checked our bags to Baltimore (Amtrak allows 2 50# bags person for no additional charge). We got some lunch and walked down to the loop where I tried to stay engaged w/ my wife as we wandered in and out of the various stores. Our train, #50 the Cardinal departed on time at 5:05pm and soon we were rolling south through Indiana, watching the countryside go by from our roomette and then the dining car. Pre-Day 2: I awoke early somewhere in KY and spent much of the morning taking in the breath taking scenery along the New River Gorge area of WV. We rolled into Baltimore on time at 705pm (I enjoyed the 26hrs on the train... DW, not so much) and took a cab to the Fairfield Inn& Suites Inner Harbor. Day 1: I was up early and headed out in a snowstorm to explore the Inner Harbor area while DW finished her slumber and got ready. I returned to the hotel soaked, but ready to head south on a ship. We took a cab to the cruise terminal; the embarkation was painless and we were soon having lunch in the Park Cafe. I enjoyed my first roast beef sandwich and some of the fresh salads. This is a far nicer venue than the hotdog stand it replaced. Around 1:30 we headed to our room to check it out and drop the carryons. This was an inside room, booked last minute, so expectation was pretty low and room did not exceed expectation, although I will give it points for a new large flat screen TV. Compared to other rooms, this had the largest TV and the smallest shower. So, we set off to explore; public areas were very nice for a ship this old. The centrum had that older-ship classic look that spiraled up all 10 decks. There was snow piled on deck 9 (pool deck), so I made a small snowman, just because I could. We had dinner in the Windjammer and while I was a bit underwhelmed, I certainly received my required caloric intake. Later we went to the welcome aboard show and were quite entertained. Day 2: I was up and out of the room early while DW finished her slumbering (typically 'til 11 or so... just because she can). I got coffee, some fresh fruit and a breakfast panini at the Park Cafe and eventually found my way to the trivia at Schooners where I was invited to play with a nice couple from Pennsylvania who have done 50+ RCI cruises with about 5 more booked this year. Funny, we managed to do pretty well, but mostly because they knew the answers from previous trivia matches. I figured by now it was time to roust DW, so I stopped at the Windjammer for some enticements (coffee and sweet rolls) and headed back to the room. We then went to the Windjammer for lunch. I found it OK, but uninspired, but once again, my caloric intake was not forsaken. I met my new trivia buds back at Schooners for something called Triploid or some such thing. You are given 3 words and must find something in common with all of them... for example, the clues : "finger, house, war"; the answer is "paint". We went ten for ten and were rewarded with key chains... my trivia buds gave me theirs so I had 3... woo hoo! It was still uncomfortably cold on the outside decks, so DW and I went to Boleros and watched football for much of the afternoon. Tonight was the first meet the captain party, oddly though, it was smart casual attire... I'm thinking they switched formal night to tomorrow (New Year's Eve). We attended the capt's affair and enjoyed snacks and sparkling wine. Later we dined in the MDR, we had anytime dining and were seated at a table for 2 immediately (8pm) and shared 3 entrees... our waiter (Ronaldo) recommended the lamb shanks and they were excellent as were the other dishes. Only disappointment was the escargot, which were on the menu, but replaced with tiny scallops served in the escargot plate... these were barely OK. By now it was starting to warm outside, so I grabbed my GPS to see where we were... There was no map on the TV, just the latitude/longitude coordinates. We were a couple hundred miles east of Jacksonville, FL. Day 3: Today DW managed to get up earlier as we were planning to take the shuttle to Cocoa Beach. We arrived in Port Canaveral around 11. I went to the shore excursion desk to purchase tickets for the shuttle and was told to go to the main theater. We got there and were instructed to stand in a line that stretched down from deck 5 to deck two and all the way to the gangway (center ship). While this was a bit different, I figured the shore excursion folks would be the first ones off the ship. Not the case; the shore excursion folks were merged at the gangway with the hordes of others coming down the stairs from the Centrum to the gangway. I still cannot make sense of why the shore excursion folks were herded down to deck two and then led halfway down the ship to the gangway (all the while folks with rooms on deck two were battling the packed hallway to get to and from their rooms)??? Anyway, we get to Ron Jon's and walk the beach to the pier that is about a half mile north. DW and I dined here 20 years ago when the kids were in grade school. We had a nice lunch, DW then goes over to the beach, and I head further out the pier to check out the fishing (I always cruise with a pack-rod). I buy some bait (frozen whole shrimps w/ heads) and proceed to start fishing. I can see DW over on the beach, she is in heaven. I caught a few un-notables, and have a few huge pelicans that seem very interested in my catches... they are a bit intimidating, but mostly amusing. By late afternoon, we are back on the ship and getting ready for the New Year's Eve festivities. Formal night and DW is struggling to get her hair just so... eventually it is to her liking. I don my black suit and we head to the MDR for dinner. Once again, we are seated at a table for two and greatly enjoyed our dinners. Following dinner, the evening's festivities are in full swing and we wander from venue to venue and wind up in the Viking Crown Lounge enjoying the disco music (did I actually say that?). We head down to the Centrum around 11:45 for the balloon drop. It was a very similar chaotic experience as we had on the Grandeur on New Year's Eve some years back... The music was loud, the champagne flowed and a fun time seemed to be had by all! BTW, I've failed to mention our CD, Luke Arrowsmith who has done a fantastic job... one of, if not the best we've had. A bundle of very focused energy. Also, today Capt Gus announced a norovirus outbreak, thus we have stepped our preventative measures. We've witnessed appalling, germ spreading behavior by guests in the Windjammer, folks picking up food with their bare hands, some being returned, etc... all while the staff looked on. I wish they would be more stringent about enforcing preventive measures and general buffet etiquette. Day 4: Awoke to sunshine and warmth this morning... this is where I really don't understand the design of this itinerary. We were in port last night until 11 or 12. Today we arrive in Nassau at 1pm. Why not leave Port Canaveral at 7pm and arrive in Nassau at 8am? The only other ships in port were two Carnival Fantasy class ships (small), so it does not appear to be a port capacity issue? This time, rather than participate, we watched with amazement and intrigue as those with shore excursions were herded from the theater on deck 5, down the stairs to deck 2 and through the hallway to the center-ship gangway. Last night was the Junkanoo Festival/Parade, it runs from 2am to 8am and is the Bahamian equivalent of a Mardi Gras parade. We got there just in time to see them cleaning up. They were taking down the grandstands, hauling away the floats, cleaning the streets... It must have been a heck of a party! We took a walking tour from Frommers (printed google map) and then walked to Junkanoo Beach (off the ship take a right and it is just past the Colonial Hilton) and on to the Fish Fry. The last time we went to this beach was about 6 or 7 years ago and it was an un-named shore comprised of rubble and rock. Now it is a nice sandy beach with beach-shack shops and restaurants. A huge improvement! Day 5: Finally, the destination we had really been looking forward to; the only real destination for us on the itinerary... Coco Cay! We were both up early. I caught the first tender in and although I had not been here before, I had been to the sister island, NCL's Great Stirrup Cay, so I knew exactly where I wanted to go; as far away from civilization as I could. So, I got off the tender and headed to the far end of the island for some peace, some quiet and some fishing. I had a spool of 10lb and a spool of 20lb line. I opted for the 10lb line and after a couple of casts, I was into a nasty barracuda who after a short wrestling match had managed to bite off the lure. Same with the second one ... man these things have a nasty disposition! So I switch to 20lb, but now I was out of the shiny cream-colored soft plastic baits that had fooled the first 2 fish. It was pretty slow fishing and the tide was going out. I had planned to meet DW at noon for some lunch and snorkeling... So, I headed back to where I'd gotten off the tender, met DW and we proceeded to have a nice lunch of ribs, chicken, burgers, fresh fruit and beer. Following lunch, we headed off the beach to snorkel and had a great time. The highlight was a huge spotted eagle ray. This thing had a wingspan of about 10ft, a head like a dog and a tail that was maybe 10ft long. It swam by, turned and came toward us... we were a bit intimidated... ok, more than a bit! But it was awesome! It was now about 2pm, and it was time to get back to fishing... I headed back to my previous haunt (about 1 mile) and by now, it was really shallow, but looked like good conditions for bonefish, so I waded out, donned the light spool, but could only spot the occasional single and no large groups. About 4:15 a RCI worker drove up in a cart and told me it was time to get back to the ship. I told him I thought the last tender was at 5:30, he told me it was 5:00... ??? So I fished a bit more. There was a woman fishing off the point with a throw line (the traditional way the locals fish). There was also a woman fishing a couple hundred yards out in a motor boat who had been out there in the morning as well and she seemed to catch fish continuously. I went out to the point and found out the woman fishing was a RCI employee who lived on the island with about 80 other employees. She is originally from Andros Island. She had caught a couple jacks that were to be her and her husband's dinner that night. Her husband was visiting that week (we also saw lots of ship employee's relatives on board). She said they were contracted in much the same way the ship employees are. She also said that the woman in the boat owned a grocery store on a neighboring island and sold the fish she caught through her store and to restaurants. So, it is now about 4:45 and I figure I'd better get back to the tender just in case the guy who told me to be back at 5 was right (but I figured he just wanted to get his day done so he could get home and have a beer). The last tender left at 5:30 and those riding on the top deck were treated to a beautiful sunset as we made our way back to the ship... a perfect finish to a spectacular day! Day 6: Up early and greeted with sunshine and warmth. This was the big poolside activity day. I watched the belly flop contest and participated in the Crew vs Guests volleyball tournament. It was a great time and there were several (6?) teams of 6 to take on the crew team... About half of the guest teams managed to beat the crew team and the finale was having all the guest teams in the pool together against the crew team. There was very little room to maneuver, but the guests won by one point. I also did the bungee jump much to DW's amusement. Day 7: Sunny and cooler today as we steamed north. I did the 10:00 trivia this morning and we got our butts handed to us by a couple who are staying on the ship for 71 days. I'm told they sold their wintering home in FL and find staying on a ship is more economical than owning a place and staying in FL??? It was a leisurely day; I managed to get 90% of my packing done early in the afternoon. Very quiet on the pool deck as it is quite cold and windy, but there are a few brave souls bundled up out there enjoying the last day of their cruise. Late this afternoon I put on a hooded sweatshirt and went out just to get out. I am glad I did as I spotted some whale spouts and spent about 30min watching spouts and a few flashes of tails and bodies as the pod/herd/flock/gaggle/brood headed south. This evening we went to the farewell/ back to reality show and were amused by the CD, a comedian and the captain. We then had dinner in the MDR and both ordered a seafood combo of fish, scallops and shrimp... they were lightly breaded and very tasty. Disembarkation day: We were out of our room at 8 and had breakfast in the MDR. We were seated next to a family of 4 and found out the youngest (6?) had been quarantined for a day with the norovirus. When my wife got it on the Grandeur she was quarantined for 2 days and because I was in the room with her, I was quarantined for 1, so it looks like they may have changed their procedure??? I couldn't help but notice that during breakfast, this family had almost zero interaction with each other as the parents and oldest kid were heads down, buried in their electronic devices... Is this the typical new millennium family? OK, enough of my social commentary... Anyway, we are off the ship around 9:30, take a cab to Penn Station and await our 12:43 train to WAS where we catch train #29, The Capitol Limited home. All in all it was a very nice winter getaway, Baltimore Inner Harbor is a great area and I hope to sail out of here again. FWIW, below are my likes and dislikes. Likes: With one exception (see below), the MDR food was flavorful and nicely presented. The big flat screen TV in our room was very nice. Embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient. The Park Cafe was a nice addition; I enjoyed most breakfasts and lunches here. Capt Gus was very funny and personable (be sure to catch the farewell show on the last night for a great surprise!). CD Luke deserves high praise as well; he was very energetic, entertaining and approachable. Music fans take note; the live bands on this ship were exceptional (I was a touring musician in a former life). The Shine band played a wide variety of old school country mostly late '50s to mid '70s... avoiding much of that schlocky country rock stuff of the last 30 years. This is not a variety band, this is straight up, drownin' in your beer country music which I found very refreshing. The Roots Vibration band had an incredible singer, Dery, who had impeccable control, strength and range... He blew my sox off! They did a broad range of reggae, calypso, doo-wop and Motown. The Enchantment Orchestra was also very impressive they could really swing those big band classics. It was the strongest live music lineup of all our cruises. I generally do not have nice things to say about the schmaltzy, anemic, amateurish, off-key live music on cruise ships. Dislikes: The procedure for disembarking shore excursion participants was laughable. The lobster was strong tasting and stringy. The buffet was uninspired and virtually the same for breakfast and lunch each day (after the mention of noro I mostly avoided it). The tiny shower was challenging. The shower temperature control was hard to dial in and on the last day there was no hot water. We found closet space lacking and the drawers in the closet practically useless. The TV's navigation channel did not have a map showing the ships position. Nor was there a channel showing an outdoor camera view. The service in the MDR was inconsistent/up and down. I sure wish they still had that Royal Belgian Ale. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We aren't a family vacation family. When the kids were little, we tried the rental-house-at-the-beach thing, but that fell by the wayside once the kids had summer things they wanted to do. However, now that we have older teens ... Read More
We aren't a family vacation family. When the kids were little, we tried the rental-house-at-the-beach thing, but that fell by the wayside once the kids had summer things they wanted to do. However, now that we have older teens starting to leave the nest, we wanted to find a new way to spend time together as a family. My daughters have very different interests and tastes. I'll call them Patty and Cathy. If you remember the Patty Duke Show, you'll understand the reference. I booked this cruise shortly before Thanksgiving, at which time there weren't many options that worked with our schedule. We wound up in the Royal Family Suite because it was available, and very little else was! Having nothing to compare it to, I can only report on our experience. Getting to the Cruise Baltimore terminal couldn't have been easier. (We live about 20 minutes to the south.) Even with the snow, we had no problems getting there, figuring out how to proceed, parking, and getting inside. Patty has a health problem and cannot stand for long periods, so I had some anxiety about standing in lines. We did encounter some lines, but she was able to rest on my rollaboard suitcase. I recommend bringing along something--a seat cane or a rolling bag--if you are traveling with someone who cannot stand. Once through security, we were quickly onboard because we got to go through the suite passenger line. (There was one family in front of us.) I could see the line could be pretty long otherwise. We were able to get into our suite at 1:30, and found it to be very comfortable for the four of us. We had the mid-ship Royal Family Suite, which I gather may be smaller and differently configured than the ones at the aft of the ship. Just inside the cabin door were a small bedroom (just big enough for the bed...I'd thought I had asked for it to be arranged as twins but it wasn't, and I'm not really sure it could be) and a small bathroom with a stall shower. Pat these was a pleasant living room with a sofa and two club chairs, and a coffee table, but not the dining table we'd seen in the floor plans for some other RFS staterooms. Separated from the living room by a sliding glass door (and curtain), we had a nice master bedroom with balcony, and its own bathroom with tub. The balcony was just big enough for four chairs and a small table. This suite theoretically can sleep up to 8, if I recall correctly, but I think it was just right for four. The beds were very comfortable and there was plenty of storage. We dined every night in the Main Dining Room (late seating) and found the food to be generally good, but certainly not great. The service was attentive and accommodating, and we got personal help from the head waiter in identifying items that contained peanuts (Cathy is allergic). However, as nice as she was, our lovely and attentive waiter did not, as far as I could tell, learn our names or remember from one day to the next that we don't eat shellfish. Or pork. (If she'd remembered that, I think Patty's spaghetti wouldn't have arrived with that prosciutto on top the last night...) But really, the wait staff couldn't have been nicer. We tried all the different venues--room service, main dining room, Windjammer, and Park Cafe for other meals and would say that everywhere, the food is pretty good, but nothing to rave about. I'd done enough research not to be surprised or disappointed. I was happy that there was always something available I didn't mind eating. Some of the desserts were good enough to go back for seconds. As far as activities, we went to a few of the trivia games in the Schooner Bar, karaoke nights in the Spotlight Lounge, some of the shows and games that the staff put on, but didn't see the headliners in the theater. I will say--don't go on this cruise ship for the karaoke. I've had a better karaoke experience in a friend's living room. The song selection is limited and there are not enough books for people to look through. But hey, we had fun. The game shows, like Quest, Love and Marriage, and Battle of the Sexes were more fun than I expected them to be. If there is one thing I can say about the passengers on this cruise, they were really good sports! People got really into participating and made it a lot of fun for those of us watching. We went to the first production show with the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers and thought it was...fine. Had they been amateurs we would have been really impressed. However, for professionals, I think they didn't quite meet my expectations but it wasn't an unpleasant experience. My daughters did a couple of the dance lessons and a craft activity or two. They tried checking out the teen activities (Cathy was hoping to find Patty someone else to hang out with so she could read a book in peace), but they really weren't happening, despite having a lot of kids on board. (I can't remember if they said 400 or 500.) For what it's worth, they did let Cathy into the teen lounge even though she's 19...they never asked her. There isn't anything visible on the Sea Pass to identify passengers as being over or under 18, and they never asked to scan her Sea Pass. She was even able to get Patty a soda using Patty's Sea Pass and soda cup. No one ever scanned it to see if she was Patty. One thing that made me anxious about cruising was the prospect of crowds, lines, insufficient chairs, etc. I was pleasantly surprised that the ship hardly seemed crowded at all. We hardly ever had to wait in any type of lines and there was always a chair when Patty needed one. The pool deck was awfully crowded on the day we started our two-day sail from the Bahamas back to Baltimore, and the inside of the ship started to feel a little crowded on the last day when the weather was really bitter on the pool deck and everyone was inside. Other than that, though, we could generally find chairs and tables when we needed them, could walk right up to what we wanted at the buffet, etc. The longest lines I encountered were at guest services, the first day, when many people's Sea Passes didn't open their staterooms, and the last night, when many people (including me) felt the need to get a look at their bill before it was delivered to the stateroom. I understand some ships offer the ability to review your bill from the TV in the room; this one doesn't, although, oddly, some material in the room indicated that it did. The ports of call for this cruise were Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Coco Cay. At Port Canaveral, Cathy and my husband did an excursion to NASA, which they enjoyed. Patty and I stayed on board and enjoyed the empty ship. She got a massage (they have a reduced price service list for kids, called Y-Spa), jumped on the bungee trampoline with no waiting, got the personal attention of the two guys running the otherwise-abandoned climbing wall, and took a nice long bath. On our Nassau port day, we took our time leaving the ship (had lunch in the uncrowded Windjammer after lots of people had gone ashore) and enjoyed walking through the shops collecting the freebies that the port shopping lecture lady had given us coupons for. (I didn't go to the lecture, but I saw it on the closed circuit TV and then stopped to chat with her near the Guest Services desk, where she plied me with coupons for free jewelry at several different shops.) We also didn't rush off the ship at the first opportunity in Coco Cay, although in retrospect it might have been wiser to do so. We had a hard time finding a place to "park," because there did seem to be more people than beach chairs. (Two ships were there.) Eventually we got a couple of hammocks in the shade and were happy. Patty and my husband went parasailing and Cathy went snorkeling. Firsts for everyone and they enjoyed these very much. The shore excursions are pricey, though. The trip wasn't without glitches, but in general, we had a pleasant and unstressful time. We liked it enough to put down a deposit on a future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Air travel for me this year was a disaster, which made cruising out of Baltimore very attractive -- only a three hour drive from our home and no airfare cost or delays!!! My kind of travel. We booked this trip back in August and ... Read More
Air travel for me this year was a disaster, which made cruising out of Baltimore very attractive -- only a three hour drive from our home and no airfare cost or delays!!! My kind of travel. We booked this trip back in August and invited two other families to join us -- one of which had never cruised before. That family was very reluctant to take a cruise and had many negative preconceived notions. Now that the trip is behind us I do believe that they will ultimately cruise again and walked away with a positive experience. Departure Experience We booked a Grand Suite, and as a result, were given a separate line for check in at the port. This was a great perk and cut down significantly on our wait time. We knew in advance that this particular ship was an older and smaller ship, so our expectations weren't grand. However, our first impression of the ship was positive and we were very pleased with our accommodations. The Grand Suites are a good size, with nice furnishings and great bathrooms. The staff at check in was extremely pleasant and the entire process (parking, unloading, checking in, boarding, etc.) was pain free and quick. Stateroom Observations While we loved our room I would never book this particular stateroom again. 8532 is directly across from the service elevator, and the noise from the elevator at all hours of the night made it very difficult to sleep through the night interrupted. That, coupled with the noise of the Windjammer overhead, translated to a week of poor sleep quality. I should have checked this out prior to booking so I feel that I have only myself to blame for this. Lesson learned and hopefully will never make that mistake again. One other detail that made this stateroom problematic is the sliding door that whistles all night long. While I miss being on the ship I don't miss the poor sleep I got while on board as a result of the above issues. Despite the above we had a great cabin steward (Bobby) so I feel bad complaining/being so nit picky. Overall Suite Experience In spite of the above, I can't say enough about how much I love traveling Royal Caribbean via Suites. I love the extra space, the great balconies, the priority seating and MOST IMPORTANTLY, access to the Concierge Suite. This was a highlight of our cruise!!! Reyno, our concierge, is perhaps the best in the business!! While I was skeptical when he said on the first day that he has a following, I was a definite believer by day 3 on the ship. Whatever they pay this guy is not enough -- he is THAT GOOD. I can't imagine that I will ever encounter a concierge better than Reyno on future cruises. Dining Experience Is Royal Caribbean the best dining experience in the cruise industry? Probably not. But there are many things I liked about the food on this ship. Made to order salads in the My Fair Lady dining room as well as the Solarium cafe were a highlight for me. There was usually something on the dinner menu each night that was a standout, just as there were items each night that weren't so great. The folks in our party got good at figuring out what to order and we ultimately weren't disappointed, as a result. I do have to say that I didn't find the evening Dining Room staff to be particularly friendly and on some nights found these folks to be somewhat rude, in fact. I didn't find that to be a problem in the Windjammer or other venues on the ship, however. On Board Experience A big highlight for me was the fitness center (love, love, love Rene, the fitness instructor!!). The classes I took were wonderful and the lectures very informative and valuable to me. This was a no-joke workout experience for me and I will miss my Rene workouts. Beyond the fitness center the activities options were endless and the entertainment top notch (we particularly loved the Quest gameshow and Bingo). We traveled with kids ranging in age from 12 to 25, and all were happy/well occupied. Ports There were so many things that I loved about this itinerary (Baltimore to Port Canaveral to Nassau to Coco Cay back to Baltimore). We did a Sea Lion Encounter excursion through the ship in Nassau and this was a definite highlight for our family. I can't say enough good things about this particular experience. As far as the other two ports were concerned, we were beach bums in Coco Cay, and pretty much stayed on the ship in Port Canaveral. All of this was exactly to our liking. Disembarkation Getting off the ship was had on us emotionally, but was certainly not difficult from a logistics perspective. We were off with our luggage claimed by 8:30. It was a very orderly and well orchestrated process. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
If you don't care what you eat and like all your food overcooked, you will love this ship. We took the Oasis of the Seas back in February. I sent an 8 page review to the executive offices. I got a form letter and some girl who read ... Read More
If you don't care what you eat and like all your food overcooked, you will love this ship. We took the Oasis of the Seas back in February. I sent an 8 page review to the executive offices. I got a form letter and some girl who read from a script, called me. TAKE THE CARNIVAL OUT OF BALTIMORE. We had an owner's suite, no less. Furniture looked like it was from a second hand store; outside door whistled, soap dish was broken, toilets were broken for 2 days for our entire section. WHY DID THEY NOT CALL US ??? Mattress was hard as a rock. There are too many bad things to list. If they don't care, neither do we. Like I said before " How can a company that also owns Celebrity, a top of the line operation, run a disaster like this. Lastly: The buffet is on the 9th floor, IN THE FRONT OF THE SHIP !! As most of you cruisers know, the kitchen is in the back of the ship. EVERY PIECE OF FOOD IS ROLLED OVER THE 9TH FLOOR TO THE BUFFET. ( Over the Royal and Owners suites). Starts at 6 AM and goes to 12 PM. Now for the rub: All the food is rolled in 3 shelf, open carts. These same carts are also used as bus carts !! Most dishes are covered in cellophane. This means food sits out for about 15 to 30 minutes on just the trip upstairs. Actually, I would guess twice that. It then is put into warmers underneath the serving tables. THAT IS WHY EVERYTHING IS COOKED TO DEATH IN BUFFET !! They should put BLAH on all the menu items.A funny thing: They overcook everything except the bacon !! The staff is very friendly. Take Celebrity or Carnival folks. You will be thankful you did. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Let me start with the good. Our steward was amazing. He was always making our room look amazing. He was fun to talk to. The parade of flags ceremony was cool too. I advise that to all who cruise on is ship. I did like the rock wall a lot. ... Read More
Let me start with the good. Our steward was amazing. He was always making our room look amazing. He was fun to talk to. The parade of flags ceremony was cool too. I advise that to all who cruise on is ship. I did like the rock wall a lot. It was very fun. I liked the pool deck and the hot tubs. They were always inviting. The gym ans spa facilities were amazing! The crew that ran guest services and excursions were amazing too. The indifferent The Viking Crown lounge had amazing views, just it smells terribly of smoke. My Fair Lady was good, especially the lobster and chilled soup! They workers don't know much English though, so if you are picky, I advise repeating yourself several times. Since the ship was old, activities lack. The shows were too loud and out there, but many enjoyed them. The Bad. . . . The windjammer sucked eggs. The food was cold and nasty. They kicked me out because I was wet. They wouldn't even let me use me elevator there because I just came from the pool, in a towel. We had terrible weather, but no one can control that. The captain was very rude. He kicked my 12- year - old away when he started talking to him. My son is a cruise enthusiast, but the captain didn't care. All over the boat, there were so many lounges. That's okay, but the boat wasn't as fun as our previous cruise. They advertise for Bungee Trampolines, but here is a tip: DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP!! There has to be NO wind, no they didn't open at all. Port Canaveral: We took a shuttle to Ron Jon. It was cheap and we saw a lot. It was overcast, but if you go when it is nice, wear you bathing suit, because you can go to Cocoa Beach. Nassau: You arrive at 1pm, so you lose a lot of sun. We took up on the offers for free earrings. After we got them, we went on the SeaFun glass kayak. They were AMAZING! I loved the staff. Once we were done, they let us join in the snorkel tour for free!!!! I advise you take this excursion Coco Cay: call got cancelled due to weather. E previous day (Nassau) we passed coco cay around 9 and the Monarch was tendering. We showed up the next day And we couldn't go. I was upset, but I'm more confused that they pass by coco cay, don't stop, get to Nassau really late, and return to the first island the second day. Overview: it is transferring to Port and Canaveral for short cruises. If you are sailing to escape, then take this and get off in the Bahamas. It is cheap and visits Nassau and Coco Cay. Don't take it for an amazing ship, because you can tell its age and it lacks activities. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Embarkation at Baltimore was flawless - we dropped our large suitcases off at curbside (we carried aboard our meds and a change of clothes, including winter jackets), check-in was quick and efficient, and we checked into our Large ... Read More
Embarkation at Baltimore was flawless - we dropped our large suitcases off at curbside (we carried aboard our meds and a change of clothes, including winter jackets), check-in was quick and efficient, and we checked into our Large Oceanview Stateroom ("large" appears to be a misnomer - despite paying a premium price, our cabin was just as big as the regualr Oceanview Stateroom down the hall - the only difference being that our cabin has a third and fourth berth, which made our stateroom seem all the more smaller). We headed to the grill for departure - we sailed past the historic Fort McHenry (with her flag still flying) and under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge at sunset. That evening, a slight swell rocking us to sleep indicated we had exited Chesapeake Bay and entered the Atlantic. The next morning was a sea day and we had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer Cafe. Although the setting offered a scenic view forward, there were far too few seats and tables for a ship carrying over 2200 passengers, especially on a sea day when everybody is onboard and the vast majority plans on taking their breakfasts at 9 am - despite the efficient staff's efforts to clear tables as soon as possible. The same phenomenon happened at lunch, where the Windjammer and the restaurant were the only venues available for people who wanted to eat at noon. It wasn't until halfway through the cruise and numerous complaints that the staff opened up a hidden overflow seating area aft of the Windjammer. Although the ship was extended in 2005 to add 151 mid-ship cabins, the dining areas didn't receive a commensurate expansion in capacity, nor did the main showroom. The seats for both evening shows filled up thirty minutes before showtime, so if you wanted to take advantage of the ship's headliners, you had to subject yourself to a half-hour of vigorous pull-tab sales. Even the late-nite adults-only comedy show was packed to the gills, but then again, this was not a port-intensive cruise with 6 am shore excursion calls. Heavy winds prevented the use of the rock-climbing wall and trampoline while the ship was at sea, which constituted over half the cruise, and on the days the ship was in port, we'd rather spend our time ashore than doing activities we could do at home, like climbing walls and jumping on a trampoline. We took full advantage of the Adventure Ocean kid's center, whose staff did an outstanding job of keeping the kids occupied with various scheduled activities during all hours of the day - one night they dressed the kids as pirates and led them through the ship chanting pirate slogans. Although RCL claimed the indoor Solarium pool would be open to kids on sea days when weather caused the Splash Pool to be closed, it remained adults-only for the duration of the cruise. The restaurant and housekeeping staff couldn't have been more helpful (with the exception of the Windjammer management who kept the overflow area locked up) and the food in the main dining room and specialty restaurant met our expectations. Our only complaint about the food was its availability after 9 pm. The only food available on the 990-foot ship (besides waiting for room service) was the tiny little "cafe" at the very back of the ship, tucked away in the rear corner of the solarium. The cafe's sparse selections were limited to warmed-over pizza, leaden hot dogs, and uneaten desserts from the dining room. On the bright side, however, it's a strategic way to avoid the complaint of gaining weight on a cruise. Despite these minor inconveniences, the cruise offered a rewarding and relaxing final boost of sunshine before winter set in, and we dreaded the mid-way point in the cruise where we began counting down the hours before we returned home. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was a great experience. It was also our first Royal Caribbean.This ship had much to do and the staff was my favorite part. Here is my total review on each aspect on the ship. Food: The food was honestly okay. The Windjammer was not ... Read More
This was a great experience. It was also our first Royal Caribbean.This ship had much to do and the staff was my favorite part. Here is my total review on each aspect on the ship. Food: The food was honestly okay. The Windjammer was not very good, but My Fair Lady had some of the best cruise food ever! I had lobster tail for the first time. I was very upset with the deserts. They were moist and not good. The Windjammer had some hard food, but they did serve some good food. All meals in My Fair Lady were amazing. We did not visit Chops, but it was most likely amazing. Staff: The best on any cruise. They were always assisting us and were always guaranteeing that we were having fun.I would honestly move that crew on to another ship because they were that amazing.The Captain was great. My only complaint is that the crew in the dining room didn't know much English. Several times we would order something with a little complication and we wouldn't get our wish. Activities: They were amazing. Our kid and his friend were in the Disco Inferno party, and they were even on the TV! The 12-14 year old club was fun. They had great activities. Something was always going on.Port Canaveral: We decided to do the Ron Jon Beach Shuttle. It was very easy. The weather wasn't the best, so we didn't go in the water. In Ron Jon we explored and did some shopping. I recommend this. Nassau: My favorite port of all :). Here we actually did the seminars and got free studs and a bamboo necklace in the shops, along with several other deals. I recommend going to these talks. Afterwards, we did the Sea Fun Clear kayak Tour, and it was the bomb. They took us to a wonderful reef and we saw so many things. At the end of the tour, we got to join in on the snorkel tour for FREE! We saw Stingrays, colorful fish, Coral, and even a swordfish!! These people were very nice and I enjoyed the scenic catamaran ride to and from the reef. Coco Cay: Because of all the bad weather, our call (along with the Majesty's) was cancelled. We had an extra sea day. Stateroom: Small bathroom. Great Steward. Perfect. Overall: I would do this cruise again, just to different places! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We try to take 2 cruises each year and this was the first time we sailed from Baltimore. We live in Delaware and loved not having to fly. The port is terrific and embarkation was a snap. We dropped off our luggage, parked, and walked a ... Read More
We try to take 2 cruises each year and this was the first time we sailed from Baltimore. We live in Delaware and loved not having to fly. The port is terrific and embarkation was a snap. We dropped off our luggage, parked, and walked a short distance to the check-in. We were on-board in less that 30 minutes. We traveled with friends and didn't plan any excursions except to visit the Space Center. This was trip was for total relaxation. We reserved our dining time and table size before the cruise and it was perfect. We had the same table, or the one next to it, every night and never had more than a 2-3 minute wait. We liked the food and never had trouble finding something good to eat. We did go to Chops one night for the celebration package and thought there was a slight change to what we had expected as far as wine with dinner. However, the dinner was very good and we thoroughly enjoyed the meal. As usual, we ejoyed the casino and actually came out ahead! We spent the day at the Space Center which was very interesting and worth the price. In Nassau we walked around for a little while and then went back to enjoy the ship. The private island was terrific and the food was very nice. It was great to be able to have one last beach day before facing winter. All in all, we really enjoyed this cruise and I would sail again from Baltimore on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Just returned today from a 7-day Bahamas sailing, beginning 11-24-12. Although it was not the most "fun" or "luxurious" compared to other sailings, this smaller ship offered everything we needed for a relaxing ... Read More
Just returned today from a 7-day Bahamas sailing, beginning 11-24-12. Although it was not the most "fun" or "luxurious" compared to other sailings, this smaller ship offered everything we needed for a relaxing getaway. Perfect weather did not hurt either, 70's through low 80's throughout. Even the last day at sea in the Altantic was warm and sea was exceptionally calm. Embarkation: This was a breeze: took about 20 minutes from parking the car to getting on the ship. Extremely organized. Disembarkation: Also a breeze. We were on the road to drive home by 8:00AM Food was good, some dishes better than others, in both the My Fair Lady Dining room and in the Windjammer buffet. If you didn't like what you ordered, "no problem, mon, I will get you something else" said our Jamaican waiter. Something to please everyone including special needs diets and vegetarian. The lobster was especially good, served on the 6th night.....full size, tender, fine restaurant quality. We went to Chops one evening, and it was equivalent to 5 star dining. The filet mignon melted in your mouth, the mushroom soup was the best I've had. We enjoyed lunch the most, in the dining room rather than the buffet. Great salad, custom made to your liking! If you wanted dinner for lunch, it was on the menu, anything from strip steak to broiled fish, as well as risotto, grilled sandwiches, etc etc etc. Staff was excellent all around. Always smiling, and some singing while they worked. (REALLY!!) Luke the cruise director was good, but Darryl the activities director was GREAT! Stateroom: We had a mini-suite Aft and loved it! We had warmth and sunshine on the balcony deck the entire last 2 days at sea! Lots of storage room, seating room, full bathroom with tub, 2 vanities for each to be able to get ready for dinner. Activities: Lots of choices, but we didn't take advantage, because our room was so wonderful that we spent alot of time there. We did enjoy daily trivia, but the host from Tunisia was not very good. We had fun anyway! Entertainment: We only attended two shows which were excellent. A comedian and a tribute Temptations band. Very good. The Quest was hilarious as usual. I think they play that game on all the RC ships. Music: This seemed to be their only weak point. We really love all kinds of music, but just couldn't seem to find a favorite to return to throughout the cruise. They would sell more drinks if they invested in a really good band or trio. Ports: We did the Ultimate Nature Experience in Port Canavaral. Okay, but not worth the price. Nassau: We took a $5 taxi ride to the beach and had a wonderful day there. It was right next to the Atlantic Resort. Coco Cay: Loved this little, private island. Total relaxation, barbeque and grilled food, music, and VERY comfortable lounge chairs. Didn't have to spend a dime, except for a couple Coco Loco's!! All in all, a great experience with no complaints. Better music would have made it 5 stars! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Our vacation started with an awesome check-in process! Baltimore is a breeze. We parked quickly and checked right in. We left Pittsburgh at 7:30 am and our family was having lunch in the Windjammer by 12:00 noon!! The Enchantment of ... Read More
Our vacation started with an awesome check-in process! Baltimore is a breeze. We parked quickly and checked right in. We left Pittsburgh at 7:30 am and our family was having lunch in the Windjammer by 12:00 noon!! The Enchantment of the Seas is very nice. Most of it sparkled and was very clean. It was built in 1997 and refurbished in 2005, so it does show a few signs of wear. This did not affect our vacation in any way. In December 2012, this ship is going into dry dock for additional refurbishment. Our statement was an ocean view room. We had a nice large window, queen size bed and two upper berths. There were three of us in the room and it worked well for the week. The staterooms seem to show the most wear of the entire ship. Our room was very clean, but it did show wear. I'm sure that Royal Caribbean will be addressing this when the ship goes in for refurbishment. Again, the room was decent and this did not affect our vacation! The bathroom is VERY small on the Enchantment!! I have cruised on Disney twice before and Royal Caribbean 3 times before and never remember having a bathroom this small! Again, it was clean which was my main concern. The staff was wonderful on the ship. Everyone was very friendly and cheerful and wanted to make our vacation pleasant. The service in the dining room was great. We ate breakfast there every morning and dinner every night! We only went to the Windjammer a few times for lunch. It was sufficient and the food was good enough. I definitely enjoyed the dining room more. Our 8 year old daughter was with us. She did agree to go to Adventure Ocean on the first day for 30 minutes to try it out. When we picked her up, she didn't really want to go back. Other children seemed to be having a wonderful time though, so I have to assume that my child is one of the only ones that didn't enjoy it. Since my daughter would not go to Adventure Ocean she was with us during the duration of the trip. This was NEVER a problem! There were so many family-friendly activities to choose from that she wasn't bored for one minute!! Royal Caribbean did a great job of this. (Like I said before, we've cruised on Disney and loved it, but Royal did a great job of keeping kids busy and costs a bit less). We had a great time in port at Port Canaveral, Nassau and Coco Cay. The weather was great. On our return trip up the east coast we hit some bad weather and had very rough seas. The Captain did a great job of keeping the guests up to date and letting everyone know that we were not in danger. There were several sick people on the ship during that day. I enjoyed this cruise so much! Going out of Baltimore was wonderful and EASY! I would definitely recommend it. My only suggestion is that you keep in mind that it's an older ship and doesn't have all of the amenities of the new ships. Overall though, it's beautiful! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Recently on the Enchantment of the Seas going to Key West and the Bahamas. Of course it is aways a cold start leaving from Baltimore in March, but it warmed up by the time we were off of South Carolina. Our itinerary was changed a few ... Read More
Recently on the Enchantment of the Seas going to Key West and the Bahamas. Of course it is aways a cold start leaving from Baltimore in March, but it warmed up by the time we were off of South Carolina. Our itinerary was changed a few days before the cruise, but it wasn't a serious change. Rumor had it that they were having problems with one of the pods, so we went to Port Canaveral and were there longer than before. Then off to Coco Cay, which if you've been there before is not a big deal. It was an off and on rainy day, so we opted to stay on the ship and enjoy the fact that everyone else was at the beach. Lots of open chairs and places to nap or eat. Then to Nassau, again it was a little rainy, but as aways with a warm rain, no one really cares. Ahhh...Key West. We arrived a little later than expected and then since we'd been to Nassau, we needed to have custom's check us out. Not a big deal as we were off the ship by 11 a.m. and that day we were staying in Key West until 10 pm anyway. Didn't do any tours in Key West, but we did re-live our tour from last year and visited the bars from the Pub Crawl. A great idea if you want to see a few bars in Key West. Word to the wise, if you want to get to Margaritaville you might not want to do the Pub Crawl as there isn't enough time to do all 4 bars and Margaritaville also. Fantastic bartender in the Schooner Bar. Tishar is the best and always remembers what you are drinking day after day. The food, although not as good as last year in April, it was sufficient even though it was not exciting at all. Somethings missing with Royal Caribbean these days. You can see they are cutting corners where food is concerned, but this won't change what cruise line we are going with. All the cruise lines are changing. People are still wasting food by getting way to much on their plates then throwing it away. I just don't get it! All in all, the trip was great, just enough sun to get a tan and not a burn and although we won't do the Key West trip again, we will be looking for other places to visit in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Neither of us have been on vacation for over 10 years. We were way overdue to relax. We wanted to find a vacation that we could fit on my spring break from college. After days and days of searching we found the perfect vacation. This 10 ... Read More
Neither of us have been on vacation for over 10 years. We were way overdue to relax. We wanted to find a vacation that we could fit on my spring break from college. After days and days of searching we found the perfect vacation. This 10 day cruise was the perfect remedy for us. I have never been on a cruise before and I was a bit skeptical because I tend to get motion sickness, but I quickly found out how well Seabandz helped. We absolutely loved the Enchantment of the Seas. This was our first real boat so it seemed HUGE to us. However some people that we met said that there was barely anything to do on this boat because it is so small compared to the other boats they have been on. We didn't care, we were loving every minute of it. It took us a couple days to figure out how to navigate around the boat but that was the fun part of it. The boat was amazing. The artwork throughout was pretty cool to look at. My favorite part of the boat was the solarium. It was just so warm and cozy that I just laid on the chair and read a book. Cabin: We had an interior room. We didn't need a big fancy room because all we were going to do in there was shower, change, and sleep. The only thing that I would change is that I would bring an alarm clock because there is no window for the sun to come in to wake you up. We usually use our phones as alarms but we weren't going to pay for the phone charges just for an alarm and the room phone was too far away especially if the volume is too low to hear. Dining: The Windjammer for lunch wasn't as bad as many people say it is. It is just a drastic change from a fancy dinner to a casual lunch. However, the dinner in My Fair Lady were spectacular! My boyfriend is one of the healthiest people that I know and he was scarfing down 2 to 3 main courses each dinner while I tried a few desserts. We didn't know this at the beginning but if you aren't full you can get more than one dish. Also if you don't like something you can also get something else. Another thing, on "CRUISING DAYS (SEA DAYS)" My fair lady hosts lunch at a certain time so make sure you try and get in that lunch. The salad bar is awesome. Entertainment: There was always something to do. The games are usually the best. The shows are pretty entertaining. And if you aren't amused by them you can always go to the casino. Service: The help was probably the best part. They work so hard to please every single person on that ship. Everyone is so friendly, kind, and always giving a warming smile. If you need anything, they are right there to help you in any way they can. We would do this exact same cruise in a heart beat. This was a great experience. We are actually going on this cruise without key west this coming march. We are looking forward to continuing our new tradition. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We booked a cruise out of Baltimore, MD on the Enchantment of the Seas. Started off rocky with an engine issue which caused us to stay in port at Baltimore overnight while they worked on the engine - they were unable to fix the engine but ... Read More
We booked a cruise out of Baltimore, MD on the Enchantment of the Seas. Started off rocky with an engine issue which caused us to stay in port at Baltimore overnight while they worked on the engine - they were unable to fix the engine but we left on Sunday with the announcement that we would be cruising at half speed and would have to cut out one of our ports, Key West, FL. That was the only port I was interested in going too but I got over it. The ship itself I would consider in need of updating - although the Centram is well appointed and a newer part of the ship, some of the other areas of the ship are well "loved". The staff on the ship were nice and did their best to accommodate our needs. We had a good cabin steward "Patrick" and we had good wait staff "Clinton" and "Rodolpho". The food was ok - better at dinnertime but it was ok. The Windjammer Cafe' was too small with not nearly enough seating for the number of guests booked on the cruise. The My Fair Lady dining room was spacious and we found ourselves eating there most of the time because it was such a challenge to find a seat in the Windjammer. My biggest complaint of this ship is the lack of ice when you wanted a drink and the lack of places to get something to drink. The main pool area had a drink station that was open most of the time, but it was cold outside a good part of our trip so you had to go out in the cold to get to the drinks. The ice machine in the Windjammer wasn't working so there was rarely ice when you needed it. There was a burger/hotdog/pizza area in the Solariam but it had limited hours and when they closed that, they also closed the beverage/ice station - which really disappointed me - how much trouble is it to keep an ice machine and lemonade and tea going. The entertainment didn't start out very good but it got better - there were a couple of pretty good comedians and a really good magic show - there was a juggler one night that was good. RC doesn't have the constant activities that I'm use to on Carnival so it was just "different". Much quieter and laid back with lots of time to sit and do nothing pretty much. Overall, I may go on another RC cruise but I probably won't go on the Enchantment until it is overhauled - our cruise was shortened by two stops but we were refunded (or will be refunded) our entire cruise price because of the problems - that's more than I expected so my hats off to RC for doing the right thing in a bad situation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was a nine night cruise from Baltimore to the Bahamas and return, February 18th -- 27th, 2012. Please consider this as more of a narrative of our cruise experience than a classic ship review. Despite the challenges mentioned ... Read More
This was a nine night cruise from Baltimore to the Bahamas and return, February 18th -- 27th, 2012. Please consider this as more of a narrative of our cruise experience than a classic ship review. Despite the challenges mentioned below, mostly caused by several significant changes in itinerary along the way, this was a terrific cruise in many respects. Here're our personal observations. As always, we're sure others aboard may have had different perspectives. We were heavily influenced to pick this particular cruise because we're less than a ninety minute drive from home to the port. We were not disappointed. Directions to the cruise terminal are clearly marked, right off I-95 as it skirts the heart of Baltimore. The heavy luggage drop-off and parking were well organized. (Hint: Plan to pay for your parking with cash, because the cash car line is much shorter and quicker than waiting in the long double line to pay for parking with a credit card). Check-in and the security check inside the terminal were efficient and fairly painless. The ship looks great. On this crisp and clear blue-sky day the hull and exterior looked well cared for. The public spaces we saw as we explored different decks looked very clean and maintained. Our cabin was spotless and well appointed, with terrific linens on the bed and in the bathroom. We've sailed on Splendour, a sister Vision class ship without Enchantment's stretch/addition, so we became reacquainted with most of the ship's layout without too much effort. From the minute we came aboard, and all through the entire cruise, the navigation, security, cabin service, activities, entertainment, and food service staff were friendly, smiling, very helpful, and engaging, as anticipated and appreciated. Our cabin attendant, Fernando, was terrific. Cruise Director John and his wife, Katrina, the Activities Director, were some of the best we've experienced. They were entertaining, professional, and accessible. The food in the main dining room was good, not always great, but there was sufficient variety and choices every evening. (We're not "foodies", so our evaluation is pretty subjective). The service in the main dining room was very good. In some areas of the main dining room the overall noise level seemed pretty loud. The variety of the foods in the Windjammer Marketplace was so good often it was bordering on overwhelming, and almost all of it was very tasty. The breads, pastries, and soups were our favorites. We ate one evening in Chops, the extra-charge specialty restaurant, and its food/service/ambiance was as good, if not better, than many of the best shore-based restaurants we've enjoyed. We had set up supper "My Time Dining" for the main dining room prior to boarding, and we enjoyed having that flexibility rather than being tied to main/late seating times. The My Time Dining seemed to put extra stress and confusion on the dining room manager the first evening, but as we all got used to how to request dining times, everything ran much more smoothly as the cruise went along. We met the same very nice couple at an adjacent table every evening, and enjoyed sharing our day's adventures. We've lived in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area for many years, and we're familiar with the school holidays. We try to book our vacations to miss school breaks. We were caught completely by surprise when we discovered upon boarding that several states within driving distance of the port of Baltimore celebrate a week-long Presidents' Week school holidays/break. Yikes! The cruise before ours had ten children aboard. The week after our cruise was to have eleven kids. On our cruise there were more than six hundred children with their families, and an announced ship's full-capacity passenger count. There were young families with children, teens, and 'tweens, young adults, and older passengers. Royal Caribbean has staff dedicated to entertaining the different younger age groups, which was a plus especially on at-sea days when the weather didn't permit being outdoors and at the pools. The evening production shows we attended in the main show theater were okay. The comedian was very good, as was the Motown trio and the illusionist. The house band was very good, too. Now, for the overriding influence on this cruise, the modified itinerary. Here's a comparison: Planned Itinerary Actual Itinerary Day 1: Depart Baltimore @04:00PM Day 1: Baltimore overnight Day 2: Cruising Day 2: Depart Baltimore @09:15AM Day 3: Port Canaveral @10:00AM-10:00PM Day 3: Cruising Day 4: Cruising Day 4: Cruising Day 5: Key West @07:00AM-03:00PM Day 5: Port Canaveral @07:00AM-07:00PM Day 6: Nassau @11:00AM-07:00PM Day 6: Cruising then Nassau @03:00PM Day 7: Coco Cay 08:00AM-05:00PM Day 7: Depart Nassau @11:00AM Day 8: Cruising Day 8: Cruising Day 9: Cruising Day 9: Cruising Day 10: Arrive Baltimore @07:00AM Day 10: Arrive Baltimore @07:00AM Here's how it seemed to play out. After the lifeboat safety drill exercise Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, and before casting off lines and getting underway as scheduled at 4:00PM, Captain Gus Andersson announced one of the two propulsion engines was having a mechanical problem. Royal Caribbean had contacted the US Coast Guard to request assistance assessing the safety issues of cruising with one propulsion engine working 100% and the other at a much lower percentage. Later Saturday evening it was announced we would be spending the night in Baltimore while attempts were made to repair the mechanically-challenged propulsion engine, and then everything would be re-assessed in the morning. Sunday morning arrived, overcast and grey, threatening rain, and the announcement was made the overnight repairs had been minimally successful. The Coast Guard did clear us to depart, which we did at 9:15AM. We crept down the Chesapeake Bay with a harbor tug shadowing us off our port stern. We stopped several times in the Bay, and then restarted, to evaluate the success of the repairs made up to that point. The result was we could only muster 13-15 knots instead of the normal 22 knots cruising speed attainable with both propulsion units operating normally. By Monday morning, sometimes not-too-subtle shortages were appearing in the dining room and the Windjammer Marketplace. The coffee was being rationed, some of the fruit juices were in short supply, the wrapped butter pats became sparse, and we heard from staff there were shortages of rice and also gluten flour for the pastries. In hindsight, the food prep staff was already trying to stretch provisions for the extra days we'd need to get to Port Canaveral to restock the pantries. Over the course of the next few days, we bounced around in what must be typical winter coastal 18-foot seas with gale-force winds and a brief snow squall. It became obvious we weren't on schedule because of the reduced cruising speed. It was taking too long to get to Port Canaveral, our first stop. Captain Gus gave periodic status reports, which were helpful and upbeat. He first announced we would have to lose our stop in Key West, then later announced we would also have to lose Coco Cay, and finally we'd have to modify our all-day Nassau stop to an afternoon/overnight/early-morning. This meant canceling many of the planned excursions. In our case, it meant we didn't need to haul our snorkel gear along on this cruise, because we never were able to use it. In one of Captain Gus' announcements early in the cruise, he said Royal Caribbean had decided to grant each cabin an onboard credit to help compensate for the initial itinerary change. As other day stops were canceled, he announced Royal Caribbean had chosen to refund the entire price everyone paid for their cruise because of the major itinerary modifications. This was quite a surprise to us, especially since the cruise contract states Royal Caribbean can change ships, equipment, itineraries, etc., based upon weather and unspecified and/or unanticipated conditions, with no compensation or damages due to the passenger. The refund certainly helped distract us all from focusing solely on the fact we were going to spend a lot more time at sea on this cruise. Our time in Nassau was frustrating because we got there late in the afternoon, so most of the planned excursions off the ship had been canceled. We were leaving the next morning after breakfast, and that meant no excursions off the ship then either. There was a mass exodus off the ship once we tied up in Nassau. The other large passenger ships tied up alongside us in the harbor had a weak trickle of their tired passengers walking back to their ships after a long day as our throng headed into town. Those other ships sailed before dark or shortly thereafter, leaving us by ourselves until the next morning when five new passenger ships arrived. What an amazing show of maneuvering such large vessels in the tight turning basin, and easing them into their docking space. As we sailed away that morning, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and it was the start of a perfect warm day, albeit aboard and underway instead of snorkeling off a catamaran or on a beach on Paradise Island. We enjoyed almost a whole day on deck overindulging in the sun and pools before we came back to the reality of cruising north again, with chilly winds blowing across the deck as we headed home to Baltimore. The falling temperatures reminded us our cruise was coming to an end. Disembarkation in Baltimore was even smoother than anticipated. We claimed our luggage in the terminal, and were through US Customs and loaded into our car less than twenty minutes from the time we left our cabin. It couldn't have been easier. This cruise was the most unusual and sometimes frustrating of any of the cruises we've done, but also enjoyable in many ways. We've decided we want to cruise on Enchantment again in the near future, hopefully with Captain Gus, on one of Enchantment's other itineraries out of Baltimore. Just not during a school break next time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was my 5th cruise and the second leg of our Back2Back. The first leg was an 11 night Southern Caribbean on the Explorer. I will add a few comparisons throughout the review. All our previous cruise have been on The Explorer. We met ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise and the second leg of our Back2Back. The first leg was an 11 night Southern Caribbean on the Explorer. I will add a few comparisons throughout the review. All our previous cruise have been on The Explorer. We met up with our 2 daughters (14 & 16), my mother and grandmother in NJ after disembarking the Explorer on Feb 17 and drove to Baltimore. Royal Caribbean put my husband and I up at the Hilton Hotel as part of the B2B package. The Grandmas and girls stayed at the Elkridge, MD Best Western. Both hotels were very nice and I would highly recommend them. The Best Western offers a Park & Cruise package with up to 14 days free parking, transfers to/from the cruise port and a continental breakfast. Embarkation was smooth and rather quick. Our only upset was having to carry the case of water we had tagged to be delivered to our room. In Cape Liberty, we would have been able to check the water with our luggage. Next time we will just put the water in a bag and send it on though. Live and learn. Shortly before we were due to sail Captain Gus informed us that there was a problem with one of the two propulsion motors and that we would be delayed. Repairs were attempted and we were cleared by the Coast Guard to sail the following day, Sunday Feb 18. Test were preformed once we got out into the Chesapeake but the issue persisted. We were reassured that though we would not be able to go as fast, the ship was okay sailing with only one working prop motor. The Capt. announced that we would miss Key West and gave an OBC of $200 per interior/exterior cabin and $300 per balcony/suite cabin. Later it was announced that we would also miss Coco Cay and that we were being reimbursed for the base cruise fare paid. Really? Wow an almost free cruise... I'll take it. Yes, we were disappointed that we would miss 2 of the 4 ports and that the hours were changed for our stop to Nassau causing us to have to cancel our Stuart's Cove Shark Snorkel, but Royal went above and beyond with the offered compensation. We did have one night of slightly rough weather. One drawer on the desk kept rolling out and slamming back in. Not a big deal. We certainly did NOT fear for our lives as some people apparently did The Enchantment staff also went above and beyond. Everyone from Ana at the Starbucks, to Nitesh & Lavi, the photographers, to our stateroom attendant, Frederick and our Waitstaff, George, Errol and Wilson did whatever they could to make this cruise special despite the disappointments. notes and comparisons: The hot tubs were barely warm (maybe because it was vacation week and there were over 600 kids???) Even the Solarium ones weren't hot. Same temp as the pools. The coffee was horrible! Had to buy at Starbucks to get a decent coffee. Explorer was not much better (Promenade Cafe was ok). Very disappointing for us coffee addicts. The Tutti Salad Bar was better run, had more selection and flowed better on the Explorer. The WindJammer Buffet food was by far the best we've had but the space is too small for the amount of people using it. The Main Dining Room food was okay but nothing special. The My Time Dining was much better than we have had on the Explorer. We were actually at the same table with the same waitstaff every night which was very nice. The guys treated us like royalty and I will miss hearing Wilson say "My pleasure" every time we thanked him :) The cabin was small but clean and the furniture was in good shape. We had a 20" flat screen TV (kids and Grandma's had old TVs in cabins 8671 & 3618) The bathroom had a nice tub but only a small area of non-slip surface and I fell pretty bad getting in the first night. Please be careful! The was no light out on the balcony. I love to sit out and read at night before bed while my husband watches TV in bed. I had to leave the cabin lights on and drag the chair up to the balcony door to have enough light. We purchased the mycruisephotos.com package online before the cruise at $169.95. What a great deal! On board it was $249! It was nice to be able to take as many photos as we wanted with no worries about how much it would cost us at the end of the cruise. (Our 1st cruise we spent about $600) No interactive TV to keep tabs on your SeaPass account. This make it tough to keep tabs on your spending (and the kids spending). We loved the Centrum area compared to the Promenade on the Explorer. The 70's party rocked! This was the first time we have attended the Welcome Back Party and the Top Tier Event. Royal really needs to step it up in this area. Boring! The CruiseCritic party was ok but with Katrina, with that big personality, running the show I thought she could have done a bit more to break the ice and get everyone mingling. All in all we had a wonderful cruise. Not exactly what we anticipated but accept the things you cannot change and use your OBC to get a massage!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
First some background: I'm a relatively "seasoned cruiser". This was my 6th cruise, having previously cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (1), Disney (1), and Carnival (2 times). We are from Rochester, NY area and ... Read More
First some background: I'm a relatively "seasoned cruiser". This was my 6th cruise, having previously cruised with Norwegian (1), Royal Caribbean (1), Disney (1), and Carnival (2 times). We are from Rochester, NY area and typically cruise during our school's February break, which is the week of President's Day. For our February, 2011 cruise, my daughter and I took the Carnival Pride for a 7-day cruise out of Baltimore. It is an easy 6-hour drive from Rochester to Baltimore, and we agreed that for future cruises we would prefer to drive to Baltimore rather than fly to other ports. The Carnival Pride cruise was fantastic, but we wanted to give Royal Caribbean a try this year (having heard that it was "much better"). We were excited to find that the 10-day Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas cruise was approx the same cost as the 7-day Carnival Pride cruise. The itineraries were similar, but the RC cruise also included stops in Key West and Coco Cay. We booked our hotel thru Stay123.com. If you are driving, be sure to check out their website. We drove down on Friday, stayed at the Holiday Inn Express (on Russell Street, near Stadium) on Friday night, enjoyed a very nice complimentary breakfast, shuttle to/from port, and 10 days of gated parking for under $100. You can't beat that, since 10 days of parking at the port would cost more than $100. The only downside is that there was a bit of a wait for the shuttle, but nothing we couldn't deal with. Overall, they seemed pretty organized -- better than our experience at the Comfort Inn in 2011. The driver took care of transferring our luggage to the ship, so all we had to lug on board was our carry-on with a few essentials. Boarding the ship was quick and easy. Although the website tells you that you can't board before 1:00, you can actually board much sooner. Because I had cruised with RC once before, I was considered a "crown & anchor gold member", which meant expedited check-in. We were whizzed right through while others had to wait in line. Amazingly, the entire process took less than 15 minutes. If you have read other reviews for this cruise, you may already know that our itinerary was altered due to engine problems. We were late leaving Baltimore, and arrived a day late to Cape Canaveral. We were not able to go to Key West or Coco Cay, and our stay at Nassau was altered. Once we learned that we were getting a full refund, I was VERY HAPPY to have a "free vacation" and had no complaints. We simply decided to make the best of it, and come back again next year. The weather was cold/windy for most of the way to Cape Canaveral, but we had nice beach weather for Cocoa Beach and Nassau. Out of the 10 day cruise, we had 3-4 days of warm weather (sufficient to head back home with a bit of a sun burn). You could make the case that if we had stuck with our original itinerary, we may have had more time in warmer weather, but all in all, we couldn't complain. Comparing RC to Carnival: 1) Food: The food on RC was good, but we liked Carnival better for the following reasons: - Carnival has free ice cream 24/7. RC had frozen yogurt late morning to afternoon. They advertise that they have Ben & Jerry's, but it's $2.50 for a small cone. On principle, I refuse to pay for ice cream on a cruise. - Carnival has food 24/7. You can get pizza and sandwiches all night long. RC has late night food in the solarium, but only until 2:00 am. (Not that I really needed to eat between 2 am - 6 am, but it's nice to know it's there.) - When they "stretched" the ship to accommodate more passengers, they should have enlarged the dining area. There was a serious shortage of seats in the Windjammer buffet area. Perhaps if weather had been nicer, some people would have eaten on open deck. - Desserts weren't so great. Most looked better than they tasted. I have a rather active sweet tooth, but by the end of the 10 days, I really didn't care to try any more of the desserts. - We really enjoyed lunch in My Fair Lady dining. The tutti salad (salad bar) was a big hit and I'm not normally a big salad eater. 2) Demographics: My 17-year old daughter felt that there weren't very many teens her age, and that there wasn't much to do. Part of the problem may have been too many cold "at sea" days due to the changes in itinerary. However, I believe Carnival attracts a younger crowd, so if you are traveling with kids, keep that in mind. My daughter considers our 2011 Carnival Pride cruise to be our "best vacation ever", so it was hard for RC to meet her expectations. There were definitely a lot more "older people" on this ship. I'm 51 and I was one of the younger adults. I'd guess that the typical age was 60-75. Everyone I met was very, very nice. Some of the adults wondered why there were "so many kids" out of school. If you are not from the northeast, you may not be aware of February break. If you don't enjoy cruising with youngsters, you should try to avoid that week. 3) Entertainment: The entertainment was outstanding. Much, much better than Carnival. I LOVED the comedians. Very funny, and the humor had the older audience in mind. The comedian on Carnival Pride was rather raunchy in comparison. We went to the 8:45 shows, and discovered that you had to arrive at least 30 minutes early to get a seat. For most shows, there were people standing in the back or sitting on the stairs. 4) Facilities: We always go for the ultra-cheapo room (inside lower cabin). If we had known we were getting a full refund we would have gone first class - haha. Joking aside, we didn't choose well. The heads of our beds were against a wall that separated us from a utility room. Around 5:00 am we would wake to sounds of things bumping against the wall in the utility room. Also, our bathroom, especially shower, was very, very small. The bathrooms on Carnival were much larger. 5) Pool: My very favorite spot on the ship was the Solarium. The water in the pool was very warm (had to be close to 90 degrees). Even on the cold days, it was very pleasant to sit in there and read, and take a dip in the pool. If you have young children, you should know that children under the age of 16 are not allowed in the solarium, so that didn't leave a lot of options for the kids on the cold, windy days. Also, no kids in diapers, etc. allowed in ANY pool which would be a real bummer if you were traveling with toddlers. They had a nice children's spray pool on the open pool deck, but I only saw that operating once. Also, didn't see anyone on rock wall or trampoline. I believe you can only use them while the ship is in port. Despite the changed itinerary and cold/windy weather, we both had a nice time. If I were cruising with older friends, I would try RC again (for the entertainment and solarium). However, for our next mother/daughter cruise, we will choose Carnival Pride (for the younger crowd and ice cream!). Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
The best thing about Enchantment of the Seas is that its home port is Baltimore. Embarkation and debarkation are a breeze! It's just the part in the middle that's not so great! This sailing made it to two of four ports. ... Read More
The best thing about Enchantment of the Seas is that its home port is Baltimore. Embarkation and debarkation are a breeze! It's just the part in the middle that's not so great! This sailing made it to two of four ports. Problem was, they didn't do much to entertain the adult passengers the rest of the time. We knew ahead of time there would be lots of kids aboard and we never saw most if them. There was one enrichment lecturer (who gave every talk he could), but that's not much when 6 of 9 days are at sea. Unless you are a trivia buff, you will find sea days on this ship very boring. And unless you want to get to the theater 30-45 minutes before show time, don't expect to see the main seating entertainment (then again, the entertainment wasn't that good anyway). The Captain communicated most of the changes well. There was a lot of confusion about shipboard credits and refunds offered. Despite letters from the Captain sent to all cabins, not everyone got these. Customer Relations staff was absolutely awful! Lots of misinformation and lack of information. When Chops had no record of our prepaid dinner, the agent dialed RCL headquarters and handed me the phone. She didn't attempt to research this herself. RCL shore side isn't much better - they consistently lied to us, from Customer Relations to the Resolutions Desk. Our cabin was OK. Nice size for a standard balcony but the bathrooms definitely need updating. Fortunately, we don't watch TV aboard because the TV was old and small. Food has definitely declined. There were nights where absolutely nothing on the menu sounded appealing. This was the first cruise when we requested escargots on an additional night and were told that they were "saving them for the next cruise." Desserts were disappointing. We ended up in Chops a second time because the food was so bad in the dining room. If the plan is for the food to decline so people spend more on alternative dining, I guess it's working! Want a good desserts? Buy Ben and Jerry's! Want decent coffee, buy Starbucks. It's back to Princess and Celebrity for us. We might try the Carnival Pride next time we want to cruise from Baltimore. Friends who recently cruised both Enchantment and Pride and say there's no comparison. Carnival food and activities are much better! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I'll start with the bad: Due to an engine malfunction we were forced to spend the first night at the port in Baltimore; finally setting sail midday on Sunday. Two ports were cancelled due to diminished engine speeds caused by the ... Read More
I'll start with the bad: Due to an engine malfunction we were forced to spend the first night at the port in Baltimore; finally setting sail midday on Sunday. Two ports were cancelled due to diminished engine speeds caused by the malfunction: Key West (which I was most looking forward to) and Coco Bay. An overnight stay was added for Nassau. Horribly rough seas Sunday night. Not a great way to kick off a cruise and needless to say, everyone was rightly pissed. Then came word that, due to our inconveniences, Royal Caribbean was giving all of us a Full Refund! Talk about a mood changer and my hat's off to R.C. for that. The ship was very nice and our suite (8156) was perfect. I had read a few postings stating the the ships interior was "run down" and not as clean as one would hope for. Not true. Beautiful and spotless. No doubt there will be loads of reviews about this cruise; both positive and negative. I have a bit of both. Ready? The entire staff was Amazing. Those folks work incredibly long hours and tolerate a Lot of rudeness coming from folks who carp about anything and everything. If you've cruised before, you've certainly seen it so no need to go into detail. Let me just say that sopme folks have class and some have None. Entertainment was very good. I forget his name but the Tuesday night comedian was Hilarious. Pee your pants funny. Movies were shown in the Orpheus theater (The Help, Captain America, Footloose, Iron Man, Contagion, the Smurfs) Overall, the food was good; both in the dining room and the Windjammer. The layout of the Windjammer was a sore spot with alot of folks I spoke with. Very poorly designed with food stations scattered all over the place and no sense of flow. Very chaotic. Favorite bar was The Schooner. The bartender (drawing a blank here...) was Great! Our stateroom attendant, Anthony, was top of the line. I was disappointed at the lack of on-board activities. Dance lessions and a cooking demo was pretty much it. Lots of musicians and of course that inane "Art Auction" which every cruise has. Casino was a blast. Met some delightful folks: the "Friends of Dorothy" group, the couple from Germantown, the Greenbelt boys, Mr & Mrs. Vito. Boarding and disembarking were as smooth as silk. We were off the ship this morning in 15 minutes. And living in Wash, DC, we were home in 50 minutes. It was not a perfect cruise experience but overall a very nice one. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My husband and I have been on 8 other cruises (Princess, Celebrity, Regent and NCL) but this was our first RCI cruise. We really wanted to like it because for the first time we were travelling with 20+ of our friends and family, mostly ... Read More
My husband and I have been on 8 other cruises (Princess, Celebrity, Regent and NCL) but this was our first RCI cruise. We really wanted to like it because for the first time we were travelling with 20+ of our friends and family, mostly couples in their 30s with kids ranging from 3 to 9 years old. Unfortunately, while we did have a good time being together on the ship, it did not compare well to other cruises we have been on. Embarkation - very quick and easy. We were onboard by 12:30 and in our cabin around 1 pm. Parking is plenty and lines are short. Cabin - we had a large ocean-view cabin in the middle of the ship (one of the new cabins added when the ship was cut in half). It was a good size, similar to what we have had in the past. It seemed dated but was clean, the bed was comfortable and had enough storage. Ship - definitely an older ship with hardly a wow factor as far as decor goes but it was kept very clean and there seemed to be enough public areas to accommodate all passengers especially since this was a cruise with lots of sea days. Food - unfortunately this is one of the areas where we were very disappointed. I did not expect 5-star cuisine but this was way below my expectations. One of our biggest disappointments was the opening hours of the dining venues. Since this was a relaxing cruise for us with barely any ports of call, we did not feel the need to wake up early in the morning. MDR closed at 9 for breakfast and the buffet closed at 11 am. This meant that when we woke up around 10 am we had to rush in order to get any breakfast. Windjammer was just terrible, worse that I have seen on any other cruise line. At 10 am it was impossible to get a table for 4 and we ended up circling around for at least 10 min until we saw someone leave and we had to throw ourselves in their direction to get the table. Staff started cleaning and removing items around 10:45. The line to get eggs was usually 10-15 people long, bakes beans always looked like a bean soup and salmon was only available upon request. Pretty soon we started having just cereal and fruit to avoid the hassle. Compared to Princess where the buffet was open 24-hours with barely any lines this was a disaster. Lunch in the windjammer meant more of the same lines plus terrible food (think of the $2.99 buffet in Las Vegas) so we ended up going to MDR most of the time. However, MDR closed at 1:30 pm so we pretty much had to rush to finish our breakfast by 11 am and then have 2 hours free and then rush to make lunch. I am definitely not a person who only goes on cruises to eat, as a matter of fact I do not really pay attention to the food on most cruises as there is always something when I'm hungry, but this time I felt I really had to plan our eating in order not to starve. MDR had a few good items for lunch every day and an awesome salad bar where you could make your salad but there was always a very long line to get a table and even though half of the room was empty we were always required to sit with other people at a large table. On several occasions we wanted to dine with others from our group but were made to wait until they physically arrive in order to be seated, which has never happened to us on other cruises. Dinners were fine and our waiter from Mauritius was funny and efficient. Food was just fine but he made up for it with his personality. Both MDR and the buffet closed at 9 pm so if you wanted a late night snack you were out of luck. We stay up pretty late dancing or talking with our friends and would have appreciated a midnight salad or some fruit or a nice dessert but the only food available after 9 was pizza and hotdogs in the Solarium. I'm sorry but not everyone enjoys junk food late at night. Kids Club - another huge disappointment. We have a 5 year old son and have cruised with him ever since he was a year old. He loved the kids clubs on Princess and since all of our friends had kids we were looking forward to evenings spent in adult company. Our frustration started on the first day which was New Year's eve. We received a flyer advertising a "great kids New Year's party" from 10 pm to 2 am. It cost $6 per hour per kid but we felt it was money well spent. We dropped off all the kids at 10 and went off to party. Right before midnight we went to pick them up so we can greet the New Year together and found a large group of bored kids sitting on the floor coloring and some kids running around. No music, no party, no funny hats. We felt bad for them. The next day we had more time to look around the "club" which basically consisted of a large empty space separated in two rooms (3 to 5 and 6 to 9 age groups). The rooms were empty short of a few tables and a TV in each room. There were a couple of counselors assigned to each room and while they all seemed nice and pleasant there was really nothing for the kids to do. We have seen many other kids club and they have always had some gym-type structures, video games, space to run and lots of toys. I'm sorry but this bare room was no kids club. We did take the kids to the club a few more times but unfortunately none of them were really enthusiastic about going so we had to keep this with us all evenings which kind of put a damper on things. I'm sorry but I thought RCI was supposed to be the most family-friendly cruise line? Entertainment - I have to be fair and say that they did have plenty of entertainment. We are not production show people but we really enjoyed the Quest Game, the Love & Marriage game and some of the trivia games. They also had comedians, piano man, magician and a lovely band in the lobby that had us and our kids dancing a lot each evening. Pools - another disappointment here. This was a cold weather cruise and even when we got to the Bahamas the weather was in the high 50s so the outdoor pools were unusable for all but one day. I understand some people like their quiet time in the solarium but I feel that the ship should have found a way to better accommodate the children on this cruise which were forced to stay inside for most of the 7 days. The Solarium was open for kids for two hours a day only on sea days and during those times it was impossible to get a seat. We had to leave our stuff on the ledge of the pool. In addition, when we finally found an empty hot tub and decided to enjoy it for a bit with our friends we were quickly told by a staffer that there can be only 8 people in a hot tub and some of us had to leave. I have never had this happen on a past cruise and there were no signs posted anywhere. Unfortunately between the pool only being accessible to kids for 2 hours a day and the crappy kids club there wasn't anything for kids to do on sea days so we just ended up finding quiet spots and letting them run around while we attempted to have drink or an adult conversation. We also saw a person throw up on the ledge of the Solarium pool and a staffer stood there for 15 minutes before cleaning it up which I found disgusting. Ports - in Cape Canaveral we had rented a car from Thrifty and it was the best decision we made on this whole cruise. For $40 we could do whatever we wanted for the day so we went to Camp Holly for an airboat ride and I highly recommend this place. We waited maybe 10 minutes and were taken on a lovely 40-minute ride on a small airboat (only one other family) and were able to see 4 alligators and multiple other swamp animals and birds. Our son loved the ride and the people working there were super friendly. We then drove to Orlando and played mini-gold at one of the Disney gold places that my son loves, and had dinner in downtown Disney. When we got to Nassau it was a freezing 50+ degrees outside and we literally had to put our winter jackets to go outside. We took a cab to Atlantis and just walked around the resort for a bit, it was too cold to do anything else. Due to high winds we had to skip Coco Cay and spend an extra day in Nassau which turned out to be a warmer day so we took all the kids to the local Zoo which was actually really nice. Lots of birds and other animals were allowed to roam free in a tropical environment and the kids loved feeding them and playing with them. We then went across the street to a row of local fish restaurants where we had a lovely fresh fish lunch. Service - unfortunately service was hit or miss throughout the ship. Our cabin steward was the worst we have ever had. This guy did not smile once for the 7 days. I had to ask him three times to pull my son's bed from the ceiling on the first day and he always had an excuse why he didn't do it. We had to ask him multiple times for various items missing in the room and he sometimes did not get to cleaning our room until after lunch-time. In taliking to some of the others in our group, some had really good stewards and some were not so good. This goes for MDR as well. Our waiter and assistant were awesome, always taking care of us fast and with a smile. But some of the others in our group had very slow and grumpy waiters which did not make for fun dinners. Usually service is the one thing onboard a cruise that I take for granted but unfortunately not this time. We did notice that a lot of the personnel were from the Caribbean, US and S. America, compared to almost all Asian staff on other cruise lines so I'm not sure whether it had anything to do with it. Disembarkation - fast and non-eventful. Walked to our car and drove home. All in all, we did enjoy the time with our friends and family but unfortunately I do not recommend going on this cruise especially with kids. I think we will stick to Princess or Celebrity for the future as they provide a lot more for the money. I would only do this cruise again if I can find a super cheap price and need a few days of relaxation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Enchantment of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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