87 Baltimore to Caribbean - Eastern Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Reviews

I see a lot of negative comments about that ship but the whole experience was awesome, except for room service. One night, I tried to get room service, made the call and asked the operator what they had available, she told me to turn the ... Read More
I see a lot of negative comments about that ship but the whole experience was awesome, except for room service. One night, I tried to get room service, made the call and asked the operator what they had available, she told me to turn the TV on and look for myself... (not good customer service), so I did that, then tried to call for over an hour and no answer... (even worse customer service). Main dining room staff was awesome. Told my waiter about the previous day experience, he went and got the manager of the dining room that profusely apologized and when we got to our room, there were chocolate covered strawberries, fruit plates and other stuff with a note apologizing again. I thought that was very nice, at least they tried to make up for it. Stateroom attendant was awesome, everything we asked for we got right away. All staff was polite and very helpful. Some shows were good, others we didn't like but you can't please everyone all the time. A great experience and I just booked another cruise for Jan 2015 with Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the seas Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This is our second cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas in nine months. I can honestly say that this cruise was not as nice as the cruise we took May 2012. We live about a hour from Baltimore so it is very easy for us to get to the port. ... Read More
This is our second cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas in nine months. I can honestly say that this cruise was not as nice as the cruise we took May 2012. We live about a hour from Baltimore so it is very easy for us to get to the port. Once we got to the port it was very easy. We got there just in time no lines or hassles. Waited about 45 minutes and then we were able to board. First items on our agenda was to go to the dining room to check to see if the request for a table for two was met. It was not and was changed for us without any questions. Then we went to the shore excursion desk to book a few excursions since we had a lot of on board credit to use I wanted to do this once we boarded. No line got the two excursions we wanted. Then off to Park Cafe for some lunch and wait for the cabin to ready. Cabin-It was an interior cabin something I haven't had in many cruises it took something to get use too. It was very clean and didn't look remodeled except for the TV. Our room steward was Bobby was very nice and always working. He was super friendly too. Few issues I had with the cabin the bed was really uncomfortable it seem to get worse as the week went on. The walls are super thin. I could hear EVERYTHING going on next to us and behind us. Consider yourself warned before you do or say thing you don't want everyone too hear. If you have any issues with motion sickness this cabin is not for you. We had very rough seas. So rough that the drawers and closet opened and slammed shut on their own. One day it was almost impossible to take a shower. I know you don't cruise to watch TV but this is an issue that is so poor. TV programming is bad. I would think that in this day and age it would be so much better. The sea days going were rough and weather was not so great but got better as we went south. We were later getting into San Juan due to the rough seas. The return Sea Days the seas were better. We didn't do much on the sea days except sun our selves on the days that we could. We didn't go to many activities. Food-It was hit or miss. I was disappointed in the dining room. Last cruise everything was good ate in dining room every night. This time ate in dining room 4 times. The food was lukewarm. The night they had lobster mine smelled so fishy, looked bad and was so tough I couldn't eat it. Not sure if this was due to the fact we had late seating. Our waiter was just ok seemed to be just going through the motions. The asst. waiter was fantastic and was given our WOW Card. Windjammer was ok nothing bad and nothing special. The Windjammer was really crowded it seemed all the time. Park Cafe is a great addition everything there was really good and it was never too crowded. Not sure many people knew about it. I think it being in the Solarium helps reduce the crowds. The new coke machines are really nice and easy to use. I think it is worth the price since there are many different drinks to choose from including Power Aide. The improvements that were made appeared to be not too noticeable. All public areas were clean and looked nice. All public bathrooms were very clean as well. Staff-Everyone was very nice, but no one really went above and beyond. Our last cruise in May of 2012 every staff member was awesome. If I had WOW Cards on my last cruise it would have been hard to choose. This time I only used one. We arrived back to Baltimore on time. We did the self assist off the ship. We were in the car heading home by 740. We were home by 9 even with Monday morning DC traffic and light snow. I even made it to my office by noon. Overall this was a nice, restful and uneventful vacation, just like a vacation should be! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Last month I was on a 9 night sailing on Enchantment, leaving from Baltimore and visiting San Juan, St. Thomas, Samana, and Labadee. This was my 15th cruise, and 12th with Royal Caribbean. Pre-Cruise: We drove in to Baltimore and stayed ... Read More
Last month I was on a 9 night sailing on Enchantment, leaving from Baltimore and visiting San Juan, St. Thomas, Samana, and Labadee. This was my 15th cruise, and 12th with Royal Caribbean. Pre-Cruise: We drove in to Baltimore and stayed at the Hampton Inn Inner Harbor. That night was very cold and windy, and walking around the harbor was not pleasant. The hotel, however, was very clean and conveniently located. Fortunately, the weather turned and embarkation day was beautiful, around 50 degrees - not bad for Baltimore in March. Embarkation: Baltimore cruise terminal is not fun. The terminal building is small and cramped. We kept being pointed to "Diamond" lines that turned out not to be Diamond. All in all, once we checked in, we were quickly on board, and straight away to Park Cafe. There was no crowd, and the roast beef sandwich line was short. At 1:30, rooms were opened. We were in a Junior Suite, which was quite nice from the recent refurbishment. Everything was clean, and the room steward was fantastic. Overall, the ship was in great shape, and everything looked freshened up. I really enjoyed the upgrades in the Centrum and other public spaces. The first day at sea was very cold and windy. Waves were high, and people were sick (not me). The captain went out of his way on Day 3 to let us know what was causing the movement, and preparing us for possible late arrival in San Juan. We ended up being delayed by 2 hours. Kids were allowed in the adult pool for the first couple days and the outdoor pools were closed. By Day 4, the outside pools were open and pool games were going on. We only attended a couple comedy shows, and they were ok. The entertainment backstage tour was interesting. They also had a presentation on the history of Royal Caribbean, which was fantastic. San Juan was wonderful as always. We had no problem walking around and finding a place to eat and get some shopping in. We did not get off the ship for any other ports, except Labadee. Of course, it started raining, and we were back on the ship. The final 2 days at sea were not quite as rough, but pleasant sailing back. Food: Typical RCCL fare. Some items better than others, but overall everything was tasty. Our waiter and asst. waiter were excellent, keeping drinks replenished and we appreciated them greatly. The WindJammer buffet is just that. I do wish they offered pizza more often, but was never disappointed with the options they had. I really enjoyed the new Coke Freestyle machines - they make sodas easy. Chops Grille was beyond fantastic, as always. And our waiter, Ivan, took great care of us. My steak was perfection. Disembarkation: We chose early departure with our luggage. This was a mess inside the ship. No one to really direct traffic. Once off the ship, we were in a heated tarp area waiting on customs. Unimpressed with the Baltimore terminal, but maybe spring and summer is better. All in all, a fantastic cruise experience. Enchantment was in great shape, and I will be on her again in a couple months. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We booked this cruise because it was a bus trip from Pittsburgh to Baltimore and we liked the idea of "no flying" involved. The bus trip was great and we arrived at the port with no problem. Once inside the terminal I told the ... Read More
We booked this cruise because it was a bus trip from Pittsburgh to Baltimore and we liked the idea of "no flying" involved. The bus trip was great and we arrived at the port with no problem. Once inside the terminal I told the RCCL rep that we were Diamond members and he directed me to a line. While standing there for a few minutes we found out that we were in the wrong line. Another rep directed us to the Diamond member line and we were aboard the ship in a matter of minutes. Once on the ship it didn't take long to find our cabin. Our cabin was located on Deck 4 and very convenient to the Centrum and the dining room where we were assigned. Our room stewardess was "awesome". She greeted us both morning and evening with a pleasant smile and always asking how we were doing. She did a fantastic job and made this part of the cruise special.The toilet had a flushing issue, it flushed when it wanted to. Several cabins on our floor had the same problem. At times thoughout the ship we smelled sewage in different areas of the ship. Our dining room was on Deck 4 and we had a very good waitress! Her asst. waiter left a lot to be desired and we told the head waiter of the problems we had with him. By the 7th day we gave it up because there was no way this person was going to make it as an asst. waiter. The number of people in the area to be served was 24. We had 8 at our table, 4 at another, and 12 at the large table. There was many nights that we didn't get out of the dining room until 7:45 when we were early seating at 5:30. We found the food to be lukewarm. We realize that serving all of these people it is hard to have the food HOT but every night it wasn't even warm just lukewarm. The "new" menu is the same dinners we were served but different names. Oh yes they have pasta. The pasta didn't impress us we have better at a local eatery at home! The desserts weren't that great and a few nights I opted for the ice cream of the day. The Park Cafe was a nice place to have lunch and we chose to do that several times. The roast beef was good not fantastic. The Windjammer didn't impress me. They had pizza whenever the mood hit them not everyday. It still is a zoo trying to get a table and people going in all different directions. Some just walk right into others with no clue to excuse themselves. In the compass they say there is an afternoon tea at 3:30. We went one day and the head waiter didn't have a clue to what we were talking about. Passengers there were eating a late lunch!! Oh well someone should tell them about the "tea". The main dining room for lunch is a joke!! Okay they have the salad bar but the menu is the same everyday with the burger being the only thing I would choose. A few college guys at our table walked out didn't like what they saw. Couldn't blame them for that!! As far as entertainment went I can only comment on one show we went to. We chose not to do the shows been there, done that. Couples we were with said that the shows were just okay. We did go to the Centrum and listened to the music there. Some good, some not so good. The Caribbean band were okay but I couldn't make out what the lead singer was singing!! I did know of few of the songs by the melody. They had dance instructors who needed a personality. We were on the Jewel in November and those dance instructors were wonderful. The ones on this cruise were more like college professors trying to get across their lesson. Simply awful!! One bright spot of the cruise was a young man who worked at Cafe-Lattetudes/Ben & Jerrys. I chose to get a specialty coffee in the morning and also in the afternoon. This young man (Erid) was so personable he is an asset to the ship!! A bright spot for sure. This is where the computers are and the book spot!! What a joke for the books to be located there. They took away the library and put several books on a shelf. They don't even have a sign up sheet in order to get a book. You just go and grab one. Why they left the library go is anyones guess. I feel the computers should be out of the main area of the ship also. The first two days at sea were rough and rocky. Many passengers were sick due to high seas. Most of the days the weather didn't co-operate and the main pool was closed several days. That being said the "kids" were allowed in the adult pool. We didn't do the pool but you couldn't even sit on the deck due to windy conditions. Wasn't the best for weather but that's March!! We arrived at San Juan late 5pm instead of 3pm, so it wasn't a great shopping experience in the dark. All tours were cancelled and monies refunded. St.Thomas, Samana, and Labadee were our next ports. Labadee it rained so that put a damper on that port. We didn't book tours. This was our 19th cruise our 9th on RCCL. The two other couples on this cruise with us felt that something was missing on this ship as we did also. We didn't know if the crew were upset due to this ship going to 3-4 day cruises but something was lacking. We always said you can't have a bad cruise. Was this a bad cruise?? Not a bad one just a disappointing one. Will we cruise RCCL again that remains to be seen. I'm sure there are some who were on this cruise who saw it in a different light but this is the way I saw it for what it was. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Overall, my husband and I had a very enjoyable time aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas during our nine-night cruise to the eastern Caribbean out of Baltimore, MD. For reference, I'm twenty eight and my husband is ... Read More
Overall, my husband and I had a very enjoyable time aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas during our nine-night cruise to the eastern Caribbean out of Baltimore, MD. For reference, I'm twenty eight and my husband is thirty. We traveled alone. The majority of cruisers seemed to be older people, though there were an unusual number of families on this cruise because of winter break in the local school districts. The first day at sea was extremely rough, with 20-25 foot seas due to a storm off Cape Hatteras. Although I was in bed seasick most of the day, I believe that Captain Shaun did the best he could and I realize the cruise line cannot control the weather. The other sea days were very smooth. We were surprised to find three formal nights scheduled, rather than the two we'd planned for. However, it worked out well, since we didn't attend the first formal night due to the rough seas. We found the ship very clean and nice. Our room attendant, Bobby, did a fantastic job of keeping our room clean and we loved the towel animals he'd leave for us. The recent dry dock added some nice features, my favorite being the Park Cafe. The food there was usually very good. I loved the grilled three cheese Panini and my husband thought the roast beef sandwiches were fantastic. They would sometimes have left over desserts from the dining room as well, and always had some sort of cookies or pastries. Fresh fruit was also abundantly available. The staff was exceptionally friendly and courteous. In fact, there was some instances I felt the crew was too nice. For example, the Solarium is supposed to be for ages 16 and over when the outdoor pools are operational. However, we often saw small children running around unattended in the Solarium pool and hot tub even though the outside pools were open. No one on the crew said anything or called security. Another example was the rowdy teenagers in the Viking Crown lounge during "quiet hours." Not a thing said by the crew, and the one passenger who said something to the group of twenty-or-so teens was ignored. Our only other mild complaint with the crew was getting tender tickets for the port of Samana. Instead of setting up a queue line for people to wait in, so that those who arrived first got the first tickets, it was a free for all process in the Centrum. A single crew woman was responsible for handing out the tickets, and she got mobbed as soon as she started giving them out. It seemed very disorganized and could have been handled better. The food in the dining room was very good. We ate there every night and had very few complaints about the food. The only exception being on the last formal night, when many people complained their lobster tails were either mushy or too tough (my husband was in the later group). A small quibble is that the menu seemed to start repeating itself toward the end of the voyage. A much larger criticism was how the My Time Dining was handled. I made my My Time Dining reservations before we boarded, and requested some nights to eat at a table with others and other nights to have a private table for my husband and myself. The first night was absolute chaos, with a very long wait (though frequent cruisers told me this is normal). The rest of the nights we had no wait at all for a table. However, we almost never got our requested seating arrangement. Nights I'd requested to sit with just my husband, we were put at a larger table, despite two person tables being empty. Other nights, when we had requested to sit with others, we were placed at a private table. It seemed completely random and I felt it had been a waste of my time to even specify my preferences in the reservation. We were not fans of the food at the Windjammer buffet. In our opinion, there was never a very good selection, and the food just wasn't very good. The best thing I found were their French fries at lunch and tater tots during breakfast. The scrambled eggs were often runny. The bacon was extra crispy, which is just how I like it, but if you like soft bacon, you'll be out of luck. The juice machines were often out of order or very limited in their selections. Seating for the two of us was easy to find, even during the peak times, but I imagine it would be harder for groups larger than four, as those tables went quickly. The complimentary soft serve ice cream on the ship is located outside on the pool deck, but the machine was often not operational or had only one flavor available. The ice cream itself was not very good, and was icy and not very creamy. There were no toppings available, not even sprinkles. I felt it was a ploy to get guests to spend money at the Ben and Jerry's onboard. Another source of major dissatisfaction was the beach towels. We didn't mind having to use our cruise card to check out towels, as we understand that the company needs to keep track of them. However, the towels were obviously very old. Every one we received had stains on it, which was just gross. After watching a couple kids get bloody noses from horseplay in the pool, and then using their towel to clean up, I was very wary of what the stains were from. For an otherwise classy ship, the towels were very low class. The other problem with the towels was a lack of supply. While in port, you couldn't get fresh towels because so many had been checked out by guests going ashore. We saw some guests having to use their bathroom towels as beach towels on these days. If you are looking for a cruise with lots of onboard activities you might be a little disappointed with Enchantment of the Seas. We were happy reading by the pool or in a quiet lounge, so it didn't bother us much. If you like trivia or bingo, you'll be set, but if you want more active participation you will find this ship lacking. The rock climbing wall and trampoline activities on the ship weren't open during the four at sea days because of the wind. Since we went ashore at every port, when these activities were open, we never got to use them, which disappointed me. The night time activities were much better than the day time ones. The two shows put on by the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers, "Can't Stop the Rock" and a salute to Broadway were fabulous. Most of the hired acts were also good, though my husband and I couldn't stand Judy Kolba, who just seemed washed up. The older people, however, raved about her, so it may have been a generational thing. There were two late night, adult only comedy nights. The first comedian was better than the second, but both were funny. The quest game show was hilarious as was the love and marriage game show. We never had trouble finding seating in the Orpheum Theater, but we always went at least fifteen minutes early for shows. Don't expect to find easy seats if you arrive as the show is starting. The earlier 7pm show was always less full than the later 8:45 show. A small point of contention, the out dated smoke eaters in the casino couldn't handle the volume of cigarette smoke, so the Orpheum Theater, which is next door, often smelled like smoke, as did the stair wells near the casino. There were three smoke free nights in the casino (always the formal nights) but we were so busy attending shows and other events we could never make it to the casino during that short time. I enjoyed the four ports of call, San Juan, St. Thomas, Samana, and Labadee. We've been to San Juan once before, and did a rain forest tour, so this time we explored the Old City and El Morro fort, which is just breath taking. On St. Thomas we took a cab on our own to Sapphire Beach (the ship offered a tour, but it was cheaper to do it on our own, since we were familiar with the island already). I brought my own snorkeling gear with me and found a lovely little reef right off Sapphire Beach with lots of colorful tropical fish. You can also rent snorkel equipment at the beach. Samana, Dominican Republic turned out to be our favorite port, as we did a culture tour through Tours With Terry. I believe Samana gets a bad rap because there is no large, security patrolled tourist area with great shopping or beaches right off the ship. We Americans don't like being reminded that just beyond the well manicured tourist area is total poverty, and Samana kind of throws that in your face. However, our culture tour showed us that the Dominican people are very happy with what they have (what a foreign concept to us Americans) and happiness is not defined by what you own. Yes, some of the venders can be a little pushy, but a firm "no" usually does the trick. Labadee was relaxing, and we enjoyed the Dragon's Tail alpine coaster, but for $20 a ride, it was pricey. Also, the buffet lunch offered on shore was only so-so. We did the express walk off to disembark, which left from deck 4, Centrum. Because we had a room on deck 4, this was very easy for us since no elevators were involved. However, the Centrum was soon packed to capacity and there was no room for people on the elevators to get off. My husband and I were off the ship in half an hour, but another Cruise Critic member posted in our sailing's thread that it took her an hour and a half to get off with the express walk off. My best advice is, if you are on a deck other than four and want to do express walk off, get to the Centrum well before the ship docks to avoid delays. Once we were off the ship, there was a large bottle neck at customs. We had been ushered off the ship in two lines, but customs only allowed you to enter the terminal through one door, which slowed down the process considerably. Overall, our cruise experience was nice. This was only our second cruise, so we can only compare it to our experience on Princess Line's Caribbean Princess, which is a larger vessel with more to do. We both agreed that we like Princess just a bit more, but it wouldn't stop us from cruising with Royal Caribbean again. Perhaps we'll try a larger ship next time, or Royal Caribbean's sister company, Celebrity. Cruising from Baltimore was very convenient for us, it was easy to find and the staff very friendly and organized. Unfortunately, due to bridge heights, the vision class vessels are the largest that can sail from that port. We'll have to go to New York or fly to Florida for a larger ship experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Just got back from a 9 night cruise and thought I would comment on the changes to the Enchantment.:- The new Centrum bar is lovely. The bar staff have "special" uniforms to distinguish them from the rest of the bartenders and ... Read More
Just got back from a 9 night cruise and thought I would comment on the changes to the Enchantment.:- The new Centrum bar is lovely. The bar staff have "special" uniforms to distinguish them from the rest of the bartenders and they sell an up-market set of drinks there - so many house choices and mixed drinks are not available and of course the choices are more expensive! They had a professional mixologist there training the staff. The chairs and sofa seating have been updated too and many more activities and music sessions were hosted in this area. Carpets have been changed in some areas and in the elevators. The computer center has been moved to Deck 6 as has the library which, now only consists of a large glass enclosed bookcase! The computer center now consists of several tables set in rows just across from the Ben and Jerry's counter. What was the computer center and the Cruise purchase center have been converted into cabins. The cruise purchase area is now on Deck 6 too. Spotlight, Schooner, Dining Room, Boleros, Windjammer, Spa, fitness center and Conference Center all remain unchanged. The Solarium Cafe has changed from the old hot dog and pizza joint to a new two-counter cafe. In the mornings one counter is a bagel bar and the other counter serves Egg McMuffin type sandwiches, fruit, cereals and pastries. At lunch time the main counter serves Panini's, sandwiches, bags of chips, soup, fruit and desserts while the other counter is a served salad bar. The cafe remains open late into the night serving hot dogs and pizza. Rooms have been updated with a flat screen TV but you still cannot access your shipboard account. The beds remain the same however, a mattress topper has been added. The rooms are looking a little haggard but I would hope that this will be addressed whilst in dry-dock in April. New safes have been installed in the rooms!!! There are notices all over the place indicating that all valuables should be kept in the safe - OK, I agree with this - however, a really stupid person installed safes that have to be opened and closed with a credit card - so where do I store my valuable credit card????? The biggest changes are to the Concierge and Diamond lounges! At the back of the Viking Crown, the area where the Diamond members used to meet has been divided off into two sections. The downstairs section is a card-activated entry into the Concierge lounge and the Section which was up the steps (balcony that overlooked the Viking Crown bar and dance floor) is now the card activated Diamond Lounge. New carpet and plush seating have been added to both sections and access is 24 hours - although late at night the DJ operates from a small section in the Diamond Lounge (DL) so it is quite noisy. There is a reception desk at the door which is manned by the Diamond Concierge person between 8.00 am - 12.30 pm and 4.30 pm to 8.00 pm. Jasmine was a delight, she checked our bills, Internet minutes, booked excursions and restaurants and handled any questions and problems. The DL room now contains a computer and a small kitchen area has been added. A continental breakfast (lox, bagels, toast, pastries, cheeses, cold meats, cereal) is served 8.00 - 10.00 am. They have installed the most amazing state-of-the-art coffee machine serving specialty coffees - help yourself 24/7!! Cookies, iced water, lemonade and iced tea are available through the afternoon and in the evening between 5.00 and 8.00 canapes, cheeses, meats and pastries are available. The drinks choices have been changed and now several different wines are served along with the usual champagne but beers and many mixed drinks and martinis are also available free of charge. I bought the new premium drinks package!!!!! My husband and I have done this in the past on Celebrity and found it good value. First of all it was not advertized on the Enchantment (I heard about it by chance) and most of the bartenders really didn't know how it worked. Secondly, you would think that it would be similar to the one offered by their sister company, Celebrity, - but it was much inferior. It cost $55/person/day and covered only a choice of 4 house wines and one champagne, beer up to $6.95/glass, frozen drinks, shooters and drink of the day but you had to pay $4 extra each time if you wanted to keep the glass!!! It also covered fountain, well and mixed drinks but no premium liquors. In comparison, for exactly the same price, Celebrity offers ANY wine or beer up to $12 a glass, all premium liquors, well, frozen, fountain and mixed drinks AND all specialty coffees, teas, fruit juices and bottled water!!!! So I was having to pay $4.25 for a bottle of water on Enchantment!! For the first time ever, as I was travelling with a friend, I was on "My-Time-dining" - and I will never do it again!!!! The whole fifth floor dining room is dedicated to My-Time now and it was awful. They were very disjointed, wine waiters served one glass and never came back, the bar service was exactly the same, they put people at a table where one set were just ordering appetizers, while another set were having dessert. They seemed to forget which table they were serving and spent a lot of time wandering around trying to marry plates of food with the diner who ordered it. As a result a lot of the food was lukewarm or cold. The Entertainment and Shows were good and as usual Captain Gus was a hoot - he even turned up as a guest entertainer and played the trumpet!!! Arriving at the Cruise port, we were given a notice that a small number of the passengers on the previous cruise had contracted the Norovirus which meant that a full clean was taking place. We were all seated in an area to the right of the check-in desks and as this was a full sailing they even had to open an additional area for the overflow. We got onto the ship about 1.30 pm and were directed to the Windjammer as the rooms were not ready. The poor staff in the Windjammer were a little overwhelmed as the entire passenger list arrive to eat at virtually the same time! Getting off the Ship was efficient and easy - I do like traveling out of Baltimore - they really make things easy for the passengers. The Enchantment of the Seas will be leaving Baltimore in April and will be replaced by the Grandeur of the Seas so I think I will just have to book another quick break just to see how that compares! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We work to plan family vacations that are interesting for my husband and myself (50+ year olds) and also fun for our children (who are in their 30s) and their children (2-one year olds, 1-three year year old, and 2-five year olds). This ... Read More
We work to plan family vacations that are interesting for my husband and myself (50+ year olds) and also fun for our children (who are in their 30s) and their children (2-one year olds, 1-three year year old, and 2-five year olds). This year we selected Enchantment of the Seas, out of Baltimore, mostly because we thought a cruise would be easy for the younger children and only 3 of our party would be required to fly. So a year in advance, we booked 3 grand suites, one for each family, two of these suites adjoined. All 11 of us took a "pinky" swear to hold these dates. Next time I would definitely purchase the "cruise insurance", there were some iffy moments. Leaving from Baltimore was as easy as noted in many reviews. They were especially helpful with the luggage, picking it up from our cars before we parked. Parking was $15 per day and it took 2 cars and one truck to get all of us and our luggage to the port. We had a ton of luggage, 6 adults and 5 children require a lot of clothing and other accessories when cruising for 9 days. Luckily there is no luggage limit on the Enchantment! Suite guests are now permitted to bring 2 bottles of wine or champagne, unfortunately we packed this extra wine in our luggage and this caused a delay in bringing our bags up to our suite. My husband had to go to deck 1 and retrieve them. We should have just carried it on through security. For our cruise there was a problem with the sea pass cards and when we arrived at our suite we couldn't open the door. Our card was replaced quickly. As we boarded the ship the first people we saw were the staff from the children's Oceans Adventure programs. They put arm bands on each of the children so they could be easily identified and they explained the programs they offered. We then headed off to the Windjammer for lunch. Throughout our entire cruise, the Windjammer is the only area on the ship that ever seemed crowded. We circled until we found a couple of tables and checked out the food. We have vegans, vegetarians and children who mostly like french fries and pasta with butter in our group and everyone found things they liked to eat. For beverages the kids liked the fruit punch and milk and I was happy to find that unsweetened iced tea was available. We did not purchase a soda package, but the family with the most kids did purchase a juice package. We did purchase 17 bottles of wine to accompany dinners and it turned out to be 5 too many. We carried those 5 bottles home with us. We all thought our suites were wonderful with enough storage space for that ton of luggage we brought with us. We had requested "pack and plays" for two of the suites, they fit nicely and were in great condition. My daughter brought a small folding cot to expand the sleeping areas in their suite. This worked out beautifully and the kids actually argued about who got to sleep on the cot. Our balconies were huge, but the dividers could not be removed, we had hoped to create an outdoor space for the children and that was not possible. We loved the suites and all of the perks that came with them, the robes, nice bathroom soaps, the special seating at shows and the afternoon cheese and dessert trays. But the best perk of all was the concierge's lounge with cocktail's before dinner, the snacks and breakfast foods and that amazing coffee machine. We visited the lounge every single day (sometimes twice) of the cruise. Reyno(our concierge)scheduled our excursions and Cabanas on Labadee. He made it all so easy. We enjoyed My Fair Lady dining room for many, many (breakfast, lunch & dinner)meals. Because there were so many of us and we had 2 one-year olds we always had a table to ourselves. We thought the food was good and they adjusted quickly to our special needs (vegetarian offerings and buttered pasta). One of our 1-year olds likes hard boiled eggs and lentil soup and they had it ready for him every night. As soon as we arrived at our table Jay our waiter had fruit salad ready for the all of the children. My five-year old grandson preferred the Windjammer and my daughter discovered that they put out salsa, guacamole and chips in the afternoon. This was a huge hit with out group! But mostly we found the Windjammer crowded and difficult to maneuver. I used the gym one morning and a treadmill was immediately available. It was a great experience working out as you look over the ocean. My daughter-in-law took a spin class and found it challenging but excellent. She thought the instuctor was outstanding and pushed the group very hard. We played bingo twice, the bingo "caller" was great! He worked very hard to make the game entertaining, as we lost every game. To communicate on the ship we brought walkie talkies(that were recommended in another review) with us, each family had one and we had fun using them during the first part the cruise. They worked everywhere on the ship and even at the ports. We tried to attend the shows and events every day. The Magic Show (David Haines)was amazing and then we followed up with "how the magic happens" lecture, also very good. Do not miss this show,some members of group did and they still regret it. It was great for the kids too. We enjoyed the production shows and Tony B. too. The last day of our cruise was on Superbowl Sunday and the final show was moved to 2:30 in the afternoon. It was fantastic! The reason I mention this is because we thought Tony B. was an outstanding addition to this final show...we enjoyed him there actually better than during his show and saw what an enormous talent he is. The final show included the Royal Caribbean dancers and singers and at one point they launched huge balloons over the audience. It was an exciting and fun show and of course the kids grabbed balloons. There were late night comedians that were promoted as "adult" shows that the 30 somethings in our group attended and enjoyed. We thought that RCI-EOS did a great job with the Superbowl. It was broadcast live in multiple venues and in all staterooms. In the Orpheum theater they provided football stadium type food.. hot dogs and chips etc. I thought this was such a nice touch. We watched the Superbowl in our suite, but ran down to the Orpheum to see the half-time show on the big screen. So fun! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
To escape the winter we often take a cruise in the Eastern Caribbean, but this time we wanted to avoid flying to the cruise port. We drove for 6 hours to Baltimore and stayed overnight in a hotel that included parking for the duration of ... Read More
To escape the winter we often take a cruise in the Eastern Caribbean, but this time we wanted to avoid flying to the cruise port. We drove for 6 hours to Baltimore and stayed overnight in a hotel that included parking for the duration of the cruise and a shuttle to and from the port of Baltimore. Unfortunately the hotel assigned us a very early 8 am shuttle to the port, where we had to wait for almost 3 hours for check-in in the terminal as we were merely Gold RCI cruisers. Once we were on the Enchantment of the Seas, we were delighted with the renovated ship. We dined in the Windjammer, then by 1:30 pm were allowed into our cabin, where our luggage appeared within an hour. Our ocean view cabin was one of the four created back in 2005 from rooms for navigation. Cabin 7010 is much larger than the average ocean view, comprising the area of a balcony cabin,but with the space, where a balcony would be, added on to the interior space. On the cold days as we sailed down and up the coast we were happy that we had no balcony but had instead a very spacious cabin. Our cabin steward Ali Muddin was wonderful, keeping the room super clean and us comfortable. The service on the Enchantment was superb, whether in the dining areas, guest services, or pool. We found the food in the Windjammer to have great variety and good flavor. My Fair Lady dining room, where we ate all suppers at "my time" dining, offered an extensive menu of nicely prepared entrees. If our table partners were not enthralled with their selections, the waitstaff was happy to bring them something else. Emanuel and Dennis at table 85 were very attentive waiters and tried very hard to satisfy our requests. The nightly entertainment in the Orpheum Theater varied in quality. The magicians David and Abi Haines were fantastic! We enjoyed the comedian Derrick Cameron very much. The singers and dancers of the production shows tried their best with very mediocre material. It appeared that musical selections for the shows were chosen mostly for their cheap copyright fees. One male singer named Chris had an exceptionally beautiful voice, which often was wasted on banal tunes. How I wished that he could have had his own recital of opera arias. I would have liked to hear classical music offered daily in the form of string quartets and vocalists. The talent was there, but the repertoire was lacking. How sad on 3 formal nights that older couples in long gowns and tuxedos had no waltz music from the classical period with which to dance! Instead country western twangs resounded in the centrum. Of the activities on board, I went to a jewelry class, but 2 minutes before the class was to begin, the instructor had already run out of kits. Other people were quite disappointed and complained to no avail. The trivia game involving science was run by a crew member, whose primary language was not English and whose major was not any form of science. His "official" answers were not correct, but it's only a game! Our favorite on board activity was swimming in the balmy waters of the solarium and reading on the highly-contested lounge chairs. Reading on a 12 day voyage would be greatly enhanced, if the ship hadn't eliminated most of the library, now a mere "Book Corner." The best aspect of this cruise was, of course, enjoying the Caribbean ports. The ship's excursion to Tortola's Cane Garden Beach was very pleasant, as the the turquoise waves splashed on the very soft sand. Antigua's Halcyon Cove beach was a beautiful sunny swimming excursion also. On St. Martin only a 15 minute walk turning left from the dock brought us to a nice beach. By the time we reached St. Thomas, I needed a break from the glorious sunshine and nasty sunburn, so I strolled the many jewelry store of Havensight near the dock. In San Juan we really enjoyed the El Junque Rainforest excursion for the lush foliage, waterfall, mountain terrain, and informative guide. Labadee, Haiti was a beautiful private beach area, complete with turquoise waters, swaying palms, many lounge chairs, and barbeque lunch. Returning to Baltimore the seas were rough one evening with what Captain Gus called "ocean motion" caused by a weather system near Cape Hatteras. The rest of the cruise the sailing was exceedingly smooth, and for us near the bow of the ship, nearly imperceptible. Disembarkation was very easy, with one half hour wait in the theater, and quick processing through immigration and luggage retrieval. Our hotel shuttle came as promised on time. We had a pleasant cruise with great service on a beautiful RCI ship, but it obviously did not have the classical music of a Princess or HAL ship, nor the haute cuisine of Celebrity or HAL. A nice vacation for the price. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My husband and I booked this cruise as an opportunity to get away by ourselves and take a relaxing break from our hectic lives. We live in Maryland so the ability to cruise out of Baltimore which is 45 mins from our home is an added plus. ... Read More
My husband and I booked this cruise as an opportunity to get away by ourselves and take a relaxing break from our hectic lives. We live in Maryland so the ability to cruise out of Baltimore which is 45 mins from our home is an added plus. Since this cruise departed on Jan 5, just after the holidays, it was certainly priced to sell cabins- almost too good to be true. My husband and I talked about the low price, and did worry that there would be cut backs on the ship before we departed, but we decided that if we just had some good weather and could be enjoying the sunshine on deck, we would be happy. The weather certainly was good, minus the first day after departing Baltimore, and the day before we returned to Baltimore. That is to be expected, it is winter in the North East! The ship recently went into dry dock and came back with 3 nice new additions- A poolside outdoor theater, a new food venue in the Solarium called the Park Cafe, and a new Centrum lobby area. All were appreciated- we did enjoy watching movies and sporting events pool side, and the Park Cafe which I think is linked to their Specialty Restaurant Chops was pretty good. I will also say that while our large outside cabin was actually quite small, it was comfortable enough and kept clean by our very attentive room steward. This is where my positive comments end. We got on the ship and were told that the ship had an out break of Noro Virus on the previous sailing. Noro Virus and severe colds were prevalent on our voyage. My husband, who probably has not been sick once in the past 10 years came down with a terrible cold, along with our cabin steward, bartenders, and many other guests and crew. On the cold days, it made sense to spend time in the Solarium. The Solarium has a glass retractable roof. The problem is that the roof is never opened. The temperatures and humidity quickly became stifling in the Solarium each day to the point where the crew who worked in there would be dripping with sweat. In addition, the Park Cafe is in a corner of the Solarium, so the servers and the sandwiches and salads in this area are also subjected to the extreme conditions here. Needless to say, the Solarium was a breeding ground for germs. I was told that the sunroof was most likely broken, as it had not been opened in the 5 months that this crew member had been on board. A little fresh air in the Solarium would have solved it's problems. The gym is another area that both my husband and I enjoy spending time in. It became clear on day 1 at sea that the gym suffered from similar problems to the Solarium. A small space, with motorized equipment causing heat, bodies causing heat, and no air flow and little A/C. While we are certainly used to sweating in a gym, this area was extreme. Even the personal trainer would have a moat of sweat around him 15 minutes into his spin class. To make matters even worse, the treadmills would routinely loose power most mornings- apparently a known issue on the ship. So imagine you are going for a run, getting into your workout, and boom, the treadmill stops dead. Now cool down, wait 15 mins, and maybe the power will be restored. The gym was surely another germ breeding ground. After a few days, we had to stop going to the gym. Another way you might like to relax on a ship is in a sauna or steam room. This ship had none, except for something called a steam shower. Apparently the sauna and steam room were removed to make space for more spa treatment rooms. The steam shower is basically a shower that has steam in addition to the shower head. The sign says it takes 10 minutes to warm up, but it really took 30. You if you went and turned on the steam shower to use it, chances are that when you came back after the warm up period, someone else was in it. It was lame. The entertainment was another dept that the ship was really lacking in. The cruise director, Luke Arrowsmith was mediocre at best. He was pretty good at a 70's party in the atrium, but that was it. The dancers and singers were lovely people, but their shows were not enjoyable. We had 2 comedians that really fizzled in the late night comedy show. The magician was OK. The best acts were a juggler, and a Celtic band called the Rouges that basically played for free on the ship (RCCL did not pay them). We did have a fun poolside farewell party out of Labadee, but just as everyone was dancing and partying, guess what? The sound system lost power! The pool band was a reggae band- the band was good, but the singer sounded like he was screaming at you. After about 15 minutes of them playing, people would start to complain about getting a headache. The absolute worst part of this cruise was the food. The Windjammer served SLOP. We ate there once and never went back. The main dining room was a step up from the Windjammer but not much better. They did have a decent salad bar in the dining room at lunch that made you custom salads kind of like the restaurant Chop'T. On lobster night, the lobster tails were mush. We did try to eat in the Park Cafe, as they had a good roast beef sandwich and good paninnis, but after 4-5 days of that, you get tired of it, and remember it's in the Solarium, so it's really hot and humid in there. In general the fresh baked bread was good all around the ship. We decided to try the specialty restaurant Chops one night. While it was OK, compared to specialty restaurants on other cruise lines, it was not worth the extra money. The NY Strip steak was tough, and the onion rings were frozen from the box. Chops was pretty much empty the night we went there, which said it all. Also, our waiter there did not know much about the menu, he told us he was new and not properly trained. We go the same story from our dining room busboy. He tried really hard, and we are grateful for that. We like to drink wine, so we bought the Platinum wine package. We had looked over the wines on the list before the cruise, and decided to go with it particularly for the Mondavi red and white wines on the list. When we tried to order this, we were told that they did not have those wines, and did not have them for many weeks. We really felt deceived. By the last dinner, I felt like I was slowly being poisoned by the food. The one plus about the dining room was the table seated next to us. We became good friends with this family, and had a lot of fun with them throughout the cruise. If they were not there, I probably would even be more negative in this review. We've been on over 20 cruises, and never before did we feel like we couldn't wait to go home. Guess there is a first for everything. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We left out of Baltimore on the 12 night Eastern Caribbean on the Enchantment. Embarking was a breeze. We got to the port about 11:30 am. We had sailed on Royal Caribbean before so we went to the Gold Memeber line and were walking up ... Read More
We left out of Baltimore on the 12 night Eastern Caribbean on the Enchantment. Embarking was a breeze. We got to the port about 11:30 am. We had sailed on Royal Caribbean before so we went to the Gold Memeber line and were walking up the gangway after a 15 minute wait. Had some lunch in the Windjammer and went to our oceanview room on deck 2 around 1pm and our luggage was there. This cruise had a super itinerary that went to Tortula,Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Labadee, and San Juan. We had great weather and were able to use the two outside pools after about a day at sea. The enclosed Solarium pool was also available but seating in this area filled up quickly. I had noticed on Cruise Critic some complaints about the Windjammer food but we thought it was very good. They did have several items that were repeated at lunch such as burgers, hot dogs, and fries but the passengers were eating a lot of burgers and there was a great variety of dishes available besides these. We went to the My Fair Lady dining room about 7 times but were only impressed with the quality there on 2 nights. The food was ok in the dining room but in general we liked the Windjammer better. I especially like the stir fry. All of the wait staff and room stewards were excellent and there was a good atmosphere amongst the passengers and the crew. Our fellow cruisers were older with an average age probably 65-70 years but it was a relatively active ship. One complaint would be the lacking of seating for some activities that were held in the Centrum or at Boleros, a bar. Most folks came early and waited and it would have been better if some of these activities were held in the larger Orpheum theater or Spotlight Lounge. Also, the tv programming aboard is truly terrible with a couple of movies being repeated and almost no programming available. I know we don't spend a lot of time watching tv on a cruise but you are in your stateroom some on a 12 night cruise and this was by far the worst programming we've seen on a cruise ship. The outside pools were not overly crowded and as we had good weather there was plenty of space in the pools and hot tubs outside. They did open the Solarium roof when we arrived in the warmer weather and that helped the humidity problem in there. The gym was small but adequate. I went 3 three times and it was almost empty twice and a little busy the 3rd time. Entertainment was overall good. They had a good mix with a comedian, three different singers, their own singers and dancers, a magician, and a comedian singer. All were entertaining. Again, the only real complaint would be the lack of seating at some of the day activities such as lectures and dance classes. The ports were great. We took the ships tour to the baths at Virgin Gorda and were glad we did. A very pretty place. Only wish we had more time there. A 4x4 tour in Antigua was good but not terribly exciting. We had a great time on the ships tour to St. Thomas and Magen Bay stop. Labadee was a very nice as well. Royal Caribbean has made it very pleasant there. At all of the stops you are within walking distance of tour info so it seems you can make your own arrangements when you arrive. Not to leave anyone out, Phillipsburg St. Maarten was great. You can take a water taxi right to the main boardwalk, shopping area, and there is a beautiful beach right there. The outside stateroom we had was fine. I believe I would have booked an inside and saved some money since they seem to be exactly the same except for the window. The casino had low table minimums and though we aren't gamblers I would feel comfortable playing their roulette or blackjack. They had a special blackjack table for beginners and many penny slots. We had to sample the Ben and Jerry's onboard and even though it seems a waste to pay for food on a cruise it was delicious and reasonable. Disembarking was easy. We usually carry our own luggage off but this time I had bought a painting I had to carry so we used the regular disembarking process. We were scheduled to leave around 9:15 but got off about 9:50 with minimal waiting outside in the cold for customs. Overall, a wonderful trip. The Enchantment is moving to Port Canaveral soon and we're sorry she isn't serving Baltimore any more. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Cruised on the Enchantment on 1/5. This was our 2nd time on the Enchantment (and probably the last since the ship is being replaced by the Grandeur). Day One - Left home in NJ around 10:30 and arrived at the port around noon and the ... Read More
Cruised on the Enchantment on 1/5. This was our 2nd time on the Enchantment (and probably the last since the ship is being replaced by the Grandeur). Day One - Left home in NJ around 10:30 and arrived at the port around noon and the line to get in the terminal was very long. Apparently, there was an outbreak of Noro on the previous cruise and they were disinfecting the ship. Since we had a Junior Suite -- Cabin 8116, we went to priority check-in. Took about 5 minutes to check in and we were on our way to the ship. Loved the new Centrum. Christmas decorations were still up and looked very festive. Made our way up to the new Park Cafe. There were only about 3 other couples there. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch (great roast beef sandwich and made to order salad) and they actually gave you a bag of potato chips! After lunch, checked out the WJ -- it was packed. Guess most people didn't realize the Park Cafe was available. Too cold to be out on deck, so we found our way to our stateroom. Since we had a JS on our previous cruise, we could see that there this cabin had definitely been updated. There was new carpeting, new large flat screen TV, new coffee table and completely new bathroom. Wonderful improvements. The only odd thing IMHO is that the towels are now on a bar at the rear of the bathtub/shower. If you didn't aim the showerhead correctly, your towels got wet. Muster drill was at 3:30 and it was very short and sweet. You now have to get your name checked off by the muster team -- so don't hide in your cabin. Stopped in the bar in the Solarium where DH got the beer cooler bag. Pretty good deal -- you get the cooler bag and 8 beers. After that, you take the bag to any lounge, they fill it and one beer is free. Luggage was very late arriving. At 6:30, we went out in the main hallway and saw our bags had finally arrived. But -- no one in sight to deliver them. We retried our own luggage and took it to our stateroom. We always avoid the MDR on the first night since it is a hassle with everyone trying to find their tables. We made a reservation at Chops for 8:00 p.m. Prior to dinner, went to the Viking Crown for a couple of adult beverages and we had the entire place to ourselves. There was a playoff game in progress, and you could watch it on the big screen through the windows. Great picture. Dinner at Chops was fabulous. The filet melted in your mouth. Very few people dining there that evening. Large portions with the side dishes being served family style. Day 2 - decided to try Park Cafe for breakfast. Again -- hardly anyone there. They have a nice menu with breakfast sandwiches, fruit, pastries yogurt, cereal and a bagel bar with a lot of toppings. I especially liked the premade cups with fruit, yogurt and granola. Still a little cold out on deck, so we played some trivia games (very popular on this cruise), checked out the on board shops and wandered around the ship. Lunch was at the WJ. It was just ok. They did have staff at the buffet serving you -- you told them what you wanted, and they put it on your plate. Apparently, there were taking extra precautions because of the Noro the previous week. By Day 3, you were able to serve yourself. Watched the playoff games later in the day. Since the cruise was out of Baltimore, there were quite a lot of Raven and Redskin fans on the ship. Happy Raven fans -- disappointed Redskin fans. It was the 1st formal night. Again -- no one in the Viking Crown. We had My Time Dining and had premade a reservation for 8:00. Arrived at the MDR, promptly were seated at a table for 2. We were right in front of the service station and were bumped into quite a bit by waiters. Our waiter and assistant were ok. New menus are ok -- some good / some bad. DH was disappointed when he was told there was no escargot. They were serving scallops instead. Tried these -- not good. Day 3 -- FINALLY warm weather. Were able to secure a seat at the pool. Pool games going on and by around 11:00 it most chairs were taken. Spent the majority of the day sunning, relaxing and reading at the pool. Went to MDR for dinner and got seated at a different table than the previous night. This time -- great waiter and assistant. Our waiter, Geraldine always had a smile on her face and made recommendations on the best things to order. Assistant waiter, Roana, was also great. These girls had quite a number of tables, but everything we ordered arrived very quickly and was always hot. After dinner -- tried our luck in the casino. Turns out it wasn't good luck. However, I did win a price in the raffle for a free entry into the Blackjack tournament. Since neither of us plays Blackjack, we gave the entry away. Day 4 -- First port of call -- San Juan. Arrived in San Juan around 2:00 and they were letting people off the ship around 2:30. Walked around town a little. Checked out a few shops and the Sheraton (quite a few cruise passengers in there). Found a CVS and purchased a few things we forgot to bring. The CVS was packed with passengers. Then went to Senor Frogs for the requisite margarita and nachos. Always a fun place. It was happy hour, so you got an extra shot in your margarita. Since our last trip to Puerto Rico, they seemed to have cleaned up the port area. It is now very modern and clean. However, quite a few homeless on the streets asking for $$$. Back to the ship for dinner. The MDR wasn't very crowded since a lot of passengers were probably off the ship. Got a table with Geraldine and Roana again -- yay. We ended up getting a table with them the rest of the cruise. When you check in for MTD, they did ask us if we wanted the same wait staff. Day 5 -- St. Thomas. When we awoke, we were already docked in St. Thomas. After a quick breakfast in the WJ -- headed off the ship. Took a cab ($5/each) to Marriott Morningstar. We have stayed at this hotel previously and loved the views and beach. Rented chairs for $10/each and spent most of the day on the beach. There is a beach bar where you can get lunch and drinks. Water was warm and beautiful. Stopped and shopped at Havensight on the way back to the ship. I needed to get a new flash card for my camera (paid $10 for a card that would have cost me $5 back home). Did end up getting a beautiful topaz necklace in one of the shops. Bought the requisite souvenir t-shirts and returned back to the ship. Second formal night (there were 3 on this cruise since it was a 9 day trip). Again tried luck in the casino and came out about $40 ahead. Didn't see too many big winners in the casino on this cruise. Day 6 -- Dominican Republic -- Opted to stay on the ship since we weren't sure what we wanted to do at this port. As it turned out, we weren't the only ones to stay on the ship. You needed to take tenders in this port. The few people I spoke to that got off the ship said they walked around for about 5 minutes and came right back. Spent most of the day at the pool. Day 7 -- Labadee. We had reserved a cabana on Nellie's Beach. Got off the ship and were driven in a golf cart to our home for the day. Great cabana right on the water. There was a cooler with ice and 3 bottles of Evian, plenty of towels and 2 floats for the water. Having a cabana was wonderful. We had a great attendant who made sure we had everything we wanted. He would come around and get our drink orders. Labadee didn't seem that crowded until the Independence of the Seas arrived -- then it got crowded. There was a special lunch provided for people in the cabanas (and suite passengers) at Barefoot Beach. Great lunch -- ribs, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, seafood, fruit skewers. There was a very long line for lunch. We had lunch with 2 women off the Independence. The one woman had been on over 150 cruises! She was from Canada and cruised 10+ times each year with many of them being BTB. Lucky her! We then spent most of the day floating on our rafts in the beautiful water. Checked out the shopping area but didn't buy anything. The remaining 2 sea days were uneventful. Played a lot of trivia -- watched the pool games, played bingo (didn't win, of course), napped and relaxed. Embarkation -- very easy and quick. We got off the ship around 9:00 a.m. There was a long line for customs, but once we were through, immediately found our luggage. We were home in NJ by 11:00 a.m. Final Thoughts: We didn't attend any of the shows. Heard that they were not that good. We were going to see the comedian, but after watching part of his show on the TV, decided it wasn't worth the time seeing him. New Menu -- Nice change. The cold soups were wonderful. Desserts were just ok. If you couldn't find anything you liked, you could always order off the "classic" menu (offered everyday). Windjammer -- always found a table (even though the ship sailed full). However, it is the same food every day. They need to mix it up a little bit. The Park Cafe is a great addition for a change of pace. Big screen at the pool -- very nice and good quality. But I don't think they need to run the same tired music videos over and over each day. Enhancements -- loved the Centrum -- the R Bar is very nice. Touch screens on every floor (giving you access to deck plans, Compass, etc.) is great. We did check out our bill on day 5 and saw a mini-bar charge for $22. Since we didn't take anything from the minimart, went down to Guest Services and got it taken off. Two days later when the minibar attendant came to our room to check our fridge, we told him we were charged and never used anything. He did double check and wrote the room number down wrong. But -- there wasn't a hassle getting this off of our bill. I would like to see more of an interactive TV in the rooms. You couldn't check your bill on the TV, there was no map of where the ship was, no room service menu, etc. I will miss the Enchantment -- but look forward to trying out the Grandeur. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We drove from Rochester NY to Baltimore the day before, Stayed at the Best Western on Odonnell st. Kinda out of the way but for $139.99 you got a nice clean room,shuttle to and from the port,free shuttle to and from the Harbor,and a nice ... Read More
We drove from Rochester NY to Baltimore the day before, Stayed at the Best Western on Odonnell st. Kinda out of the way but for $139.99 you got a nice clean room,shuttle to and from the port,free shuttle to and from the Harbor,and a nice breakfast the port is $15.00 a day to park so do the math. the hotel rest. was very good and real good prices also has a dinner theater right at the hotel and a mickey ds in lot next door. Getting on the ship was a breeze for most but for some who had run inns with the drug dogs not so much the were very much around before and after the trip. Our room was real bad very small and we had a pole right in the middle of the bed and you could not see the new tv at all so we moved the bed around with no help from the room stewert he just watched and then said everyone complains about that room so stay away from 3511. Food was good not great ,not bad ,just good, service was very good, and the ship was very very clean. They have one of the best Capt we have ever seen very outgoing all over the ship involved in everything and very funny its about time the lightened up a little bit NICE JOB capt Guss. The shows were ok still think they put all the old shows on this ship nothing great or outstanding, The new tv was fun to watch football on but other then that they need to use it more maybe some late night movies or show the clips of the ship the day before.all in all it was a good trip not like 2 years ago it was real bad had the most friendly staff and passengers we have seen in awhile. Going on the Splender in April will write then SEE YA Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Went on a cruise with Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. Dining was good, waiter and assistant waiter were awesome. Stateroom attendant was also great BUT... 1. Took 3 days to get hairdryer that was supposed to be in room upon ... Read More
Went on a cruise with Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. Dining was good, waiter and assistant waiter were awesome. Stateroom attendant was also great BUT... 1. Took 3 days to get hairdryer that was supposed to be in room upon arrival but was not. Went to Guests services, they told me to ask stateroom attendant. Called they told me to call guests services. After 3 days finally got one. 2. Smoking on board should be prohibiter throughout the ship. There was smoking in several places and we couldn't walk in front of those places without having difficulty breathing it smelled so bad. Smoking was allowed in casino which is about 5 feet from promenade. People could have gone outside to smoke and let us breathe. Regulations on smoking should be changed. 3. Room services really really stinks. Got sick one night too much sun. Could not eat supper. Room service should be available 24 hours. Day before I went (again) to guests services to ask for room service menu that again should have been in room upon arrival but was not. They told me that they were changing it and that all I have to do is call room service and ask what is available. So I did. Called twice, no answer after phone rang 4 minutes first time and 3 the second. Finally, on third call, person that answered told me to look at the TV, the menu was posted and HUNG UP... So, looked at the TV. Called again... twice... no answer. There should be a counter opened 24 hours at least for snacks. 4. Entertainment... REALLY SUCKED, in my whole life I never heard such bad singers and way too loud, could not hear ourselves talk at the same table. Comics were also very bad, old jokes not funny at all. Music was also very bad. On top of that, events were ALWAYS late. Cruise compass would say 3:30 and when we got to the place at 3:30 they were just starting to get ready, did not start until 15-30 minutes later and that was for EVERY EVENT. Like I said, food was pretty good and waiter and ass. waiter were great. Stateroom attendant was also very good. But, will never cruise with that company again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My DW and I made a last minute decision to try and get a New Years Eve cruise booked. Given the cost of last minute flights, we looked specifically at something that was within an 8 hour drive from our home in Toronto, which pretty much ... Read More
My DW and I made a last minute decision to try and get a New Years Eve cruise booked. Given the cost of last minute flights, we looked specifically at something that was within an 8 hour drive from our home in Toronto, which pretty much limited us to Baltimore! We were able to find an Outside Cabin on the December 29 departure and booked it via an online agency. Our drive down was rather uneventful. We came in the night before but did not take advantage of the numerous 'stay and park' offerings in the area as we were staying on points. EMBARKATION DAY The cruise ship terminal is located just off of I-95 and was easy to find using the instructions on Royal's website. Parking was straightforward ($105 for the week paid upon arrival) but was a little time consuming as the port authority had only two kiosks open, and neither of the parking attendants were in any hurry. We arrived at a little before noon and had about a 10 minute wait to go through the security check, followed by another 10 minute wait to check in. most of the delay at security was due to passengers not paying attention to requests to remove metallic objects, etc. resulting in an alarm and subsequent additional inspection. Once checked in, we were able to head straight onto the ship...but were not allowed to go to our rooms. This is not the first time that we've had this situation and we've gotten quite good at lugging our carry on luggage around but nonetheless it makes for a crowded lunch up in the Windjammer buffet. Before I go on further, just want to mention that this was our third cruise this year; with earlier cruises being on Celebrity and Disney. THE SHIP I had heard that the ship was getting on in years but we found it to be very well looked after. The recent drydock refurbishment showed, with new carpets in many areas, flat screen TVs in the room, touchscreen displays in the common areas, and redecorated cabin bathrooms. The centrum is fantastic looking. The ship was still decked out for Christmas with a large tree in the atrium along with a display of gingerbread houses. Even though the ship was very full (2490 passengers - much higher than the double occupancy rate) we never felt crowded outside of the Windjammer cafe. One major disappointment was the solarium. It was advertised as an adult only oasis but, due to the inclement weather for 3 days of the cruise, the non-existent enforcement of the rules, and the location of the Park Cafe in the solarium, there were kids everywhere! We were looking forward to a quiet oasis for at least some of the cruise. The crew kept the ship very clean during our cruise. THE CABIN We had a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom on Deck 4. We typically go for a balcony but none were available at the late time that we booked. The room was clean but much smaller than what I was used to on Celebrity and Disney. Not a big deal for us but I am sure families would have had issues with this cabin. Our steward, Humberto, made at least three visits a day to keep things clean and well stocked. FOOD AND BEVERAGE We were only able to book My Time dining as both the early and late seatings were full. The My Fair Lady dining room has two levels, with the upper level now dedicated to My Time dining guests. We have the same complaints as others -- service can be indifferent! However, we did find a waiter we liked on the second night and arranged to be in his area for the remainder of the cruise. I strongly suggest doing the same if you are doing the My Time dining. I did get a chance to talk to our waiter (name withheld - I'd hate for anything to come back on him) about the My Time dining. It's a much different process from the assigned dining. With the assigned dining, waitstaff are able to collect orders 'all at once', submit them, and then spend some time with diners. Again, once the course is delivered, the waitstaff has time to follow up and find out if there are any issues. As well, since they have the same guests every night, they can make better suggestions regarding menu choices. The My Time dining results in waitstaff having people coming in at all different times. Couple that with no reduction in the number of guests served by a waiter and there is less time to interact due to the less efficient process. If you could get assigned to the same waitstaff every night it did get better but you certainly didn't get the same experience as the set dining times. One final item: the EOS has two galleys in the MDR. The upper galley, servicing the My Time diners, closes at 9:00 pm, resulting in added effort for the waitstaff as they need to traipse downstairs to the lower galley to get meals after 9:00! Royal really needs to do something about this! The MDR food was hit and miss. My wife is a vegetarian and, like most cruise lines we've been on, Royal has poorly executed vegetarian entrees. We were quite disappointed that the many curry dishes that used to be on the menu had disappeared with the redesigned menus introduced last month. The Windjammer cafe was a typical buffet. Okay food and lots of people! The layout made for plenty of traffic jams! However, you could easily avoid it by eating a little later (after 1 pm). The Park Cafe is a new addition to the EOS and was a pleasant surprise. They had a nice selection of sandwiches, desserts, and a build your own salad station. We didn't try the added fee steakhouse as we heard a number of comments that it was basically the same as the MDR, just with larger portions. I would have liked to see Royal put an Italian or French dining experience in place. Royal was offering the 'all you can drink' package on this sailing - not sure if this is the first time for the EOS. There are a couple of drawbacks to the package. First off, everyone over the age of 21 in the cabin must purchase the package. Not useful if one person doesn't drink, as is the case for us! Secondly, and more importantly, we saw a few people who were doing their utmost to make sure that EOS lost money on their drinking! This did ruin the atmosphere some nights in the dining room. I did find the soda package to be a good deal. It was nice not to have to pay every time I ordered a coke! ENTERTAINMENT The EOS had a wide variety of entertainment for cruise, with one exception that I will come to shortly. The headliner shows were a mixed bag. We went to all shows except for the trio of Broadway singers (really not our thing). The stage productions were mediocre at best, with the "Can't Stop the Rock" show on day 6 being downright awful. The magic show (Haines Magic) was fantastic - easily the best show of the cruise. Additionally, the do a 'behind the scenes' lecture in the daytime that is terrific. The husband and wife juggling team was very good as well. They were very passionate about their craft and it showed. Both comedians were mediocre. Neither were able to really connect with the crowd and, other than the headline shows, were pretty much invisible. We tried to take in most of the Trivia contests (there were at least 3 each day). They are a lot of fun but a few of the crew had trouble with English so the flow was poor. Luke, the cruise director, was much funnier than either of the comedians on board and we looked forward to his appearances. I did mention one exception to the variety of entertainment: on the last full day (a sea day) there was a dearth of things to do. I expect Royal was thinking we would be out on the deck enjoying one last day of sun...which isn't going to happen in the North Atlantic in January! Many cruisers mentioned that there was very little in the way of planned activities on the last day. THE PORTS The ports visited was probably the weakest area of the cruise. Port Canaveral has very few options - we took a shuttle to Cocoa Beach and hung out for the day. Some cruisers went to Disney World even though they were warned about extremely long lines. Royal really should consider doing something else than visit Port Canaveral. We arrived at Nassau on New Years Day to a deserted town! Seriously, there might have been ten stores open. I've been there a number of times and always found it hectic...except this time. My wife was prepared to do a lot of shopping and was, needless to say, disappointed. Coco Cay was the best port visited. The island was quite nice even with two ships visiting (Majesty of the Seas was there). We tendered out early in the morning, grabbed some sun, and headed back to the ship for lunch. We then went back out in the afternoon after refreshing ourselves for a while on the ship. The tendering process was well run - you obtained a tender ticket and headed to the tender when your number was called. OVERALL Generally a pleasurable cruise experience! We found the ship to be in much better condition than expected. Service in the MDR and the cabins was excellent; other areas tended to be somewhat indifferent. Given that I was on Disney and Celebrity earlier this year, I would rate Royal as having better food than Disney, but worse than Celebrity. Disney and Celebrity had much better service than Royal. Interestingly, we never saw the 800 kids on our Disney cruise but the 400 kids on this cruise were very apparent! Royal could take some cues from Disney on how to keep the little ones engaged and entertained! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We traveled from Arlington, VA which makes a very big difference when you have to use an electrical wheel chair. Even though it was snowing the check in went nice and smoothly. Our cabin (accessible) was great! Plenty of space and with the ... Read More
We traveled from Arlington, VA which makes a very big difference when you have to use an electrical wheel chair. Even though it was snowing the check in went nice and smoothly. Our cabin (accessible) was great! Plenty of space and with the needs that had been arranged with the special needs department; in other words, by the time we got back to the room after lunch all was in order. The cruise was sensational: the service in our cabins and at the restaurant (2d. sitting - Table 108)very unique ... the three wonderful individuals, very professional, serviceable and most of all always cheerful and willing to help, In relation to FOOD. it had been a long time since my DW and I had been in a large ship, since 2000 we had been in river cruises (Europe and China) and the improvement of what we remembered (accessibleas cheerfulular; one of the best meals we ever had in a Steakhouse was on Wednesday night at the Chopps restaurant - great food and real great professional service. There is just NO COMPLAINT. We are very glad we cruised in the Enchantment out of Baltimore and are already exploring opportunities for our next cruise with RCCL, out from Baltimore. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I took this cruise with my my wife and 2 children under 3, along with my inlaws, who had their own child under 2. The 7 of us were booked in a single Royal Family Suite, which proved to be too small for this many people. We made the best ... Read More
I took this cruise with my my wife and 2 children under 3, along with my inlaws, who had their own child under 2. The 7 of us were booked in a single Royal Family Suite, which proved to be too small for this many people. We made the best of it however, and one child had to be sleep in the walk in closet in a Pack N' Play with the door always partially open. One of the two bedrooms simply has no open space other than the bed. I slept in the Master Bedroom, which had a bathtub shower combination and a little open space. We were able to just barely fit a Pack N. Play and fold out cot for our two children. Space constrictions aside, the room was well furnished, with flat screen TVs in each bedroom, and a 40" flat screen and DVD player in the main living area. Our room attendant did an amazing job cleaning up after our little ones, and left us chocolates and towel animals each night on our bed. The benefits of booking a suite including priority seating in the theater, and access to the concierge lounge. The concierge lounge turned out to be the best part of the cruise, as many in my family agreed. Reyno, the concierge, was very helpful, and assisted with booking a last minute excursion. The open bar and canapes each evening before dinner were wonderful, and this became a daily tradition for our entire extended family. If you ever book a suite on a ship, you should really take advantage of this VIP feature. Dining: The Windjammer was crowded most of the time, but crew members were constantly clearing off tables and looking to assist those trying to find seating. Once you were sat, they would offer you drinks. The food was mediocre, but they at least made an effort to offer something different each day. The Main Dining Room had significantly better food, although some nights the Menu just seemed unappealing. Service the first night was very slow, and scared a number of tables around ours away. The rest of the cruise things came out alot quicker, and we enjoyed our experience in the main dining room. Our Headwaiter loved playing with my children, and gave them extra attention throughout the week. I found the desserts and the chilled fruit soups to be the best menu items. Ports: San Juan- Don't bother getting off unless you have an excursion, unless you want to walk to Senor Frogs. There is jewelry shopping, but not much else in the historic district. St. Thomas- We went to Magen's Bay, which is as beautiful as they say it is. It gets crowded later in the day, but the beach alone is worth a trip. Try the local "Carib" beer, and hit the shops on the way back. You can't beat the prices on jewelry and cameras there. Samana, DR- We went on an ATV excursion into the jungle, which was truly an adventure on multiple levels. On the way into the jungle, you passed lots of locals and the poverty is all around you. The children wave, but the adults generally ignore you. We rode the ATVs through mud, rocks, rivers, and ended up at a truly isolated beautiful beach. You can only get there by ATV or horseback, and it was truly an amazing experience. The locals will try and sell you there little handmade wares and trinkets, but are polite once you tell them no. If you want a true adventure into Samana, take the ATV tour. You also walk across a suspension bridge, visit a remote waterfall, and visit a cigar and chocolate plantation in the jungle. Amazing experience all around. Labadee, Haiti- This was also a very impressive stop. Labadee is very well built up, clean, and well organized. We booked a cabana and stayed at the private beach for hours, and really enjoyed ourselves. There are about 50 jet skis for rental, a waterpark, massive zip line, and rollercoaster that are not to be missed. I only wish we had more time to try some of these things. There are multiple buffets set up by RCL for cruisers that get off the ship to eat lunch. Entertainment- We also attended a magic show, which was mediocre, and a comedian, who was absolutley terrible. I was too scared to try another comedian the rest of the trip after the performance we saw. I heard from other people that the RCL singers and dancers were impressive, but that is not my cup of tea. The casino staff were very friendly, and kept me entertained while I donated my money. There was tons of trivia, karaoake, dancing, and DJ activity throughout the week, which kept me busy on slow days. I did not try the rock climbing wall or trampoline, and can not comment on those. Our kids were too young for the children's programs, but the older kids on the ship seemed to really enjoy them. Overall, we had an very good cruise. For those cruisers looking for a good time on a smaller ship, I highly recommend the Enchantment of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We sailed our first cruise on Enchantment of the Sea in 1998 to the Caribbean out of Florida, and it could not have been better. Since then, the ship has been renovated and many more rooms added. We understand this is their last trip ... Read More
We sailed our first cruise on Enchantment of the Sea in 1998 to the Caribbean out of Florida, and it could not have been better. Since then, the ship has been renovated and many more rooms added. We understand this is their last trip out of Baltimore and will be going in for another renovation and then sail out of Florida. Pros: Embarkment and Disembarkment out of Baltimore was flawless. Upon exiting the ship, my seacard pass wouldn't let me out. The attendant asked me if I had left anything behind. I told him "no" but he insisted I go to Guest Services. Thank heavens I did as I had placed my purse down in the lounge waiting to leave and left it behind. What a wonderful system that was! Our cabin attendance, Martin, was exceptional. Because of a recent injury, I had to keep my knee constantly iced down. He brought in an enormous supply daily. We had also asked for extra towels and he was failed to deliver. Our cabin was spotless and location on the ship was perfect as well. We find giving an initial tip is a nice gesture for the attendants. The Fair Lady Dining Room was truly wonderful for dinner. Each dinner kept getting better and better. Our head waiter "Leston" was exceptional and caterered to our every desire and made wonderful suggestions. We were travelling with 6 friends. Talking to other guests on board, I learned their experience was not as good and they experienced poor service but we did not. The Cruise Director, John Blair, was the best we've ever had. He is multi-talented, extremely funny, and kept us entertained constantly. The comedian, magic show, Jersey Boys rendition show, and Blair's tribute to Neal Diamond were truly the best. The game show he organzed with his wife Katrina were really funny too. Because of my knee limitation, we didn't go on a lot of excursions but the one to Cadillac Mountain was sensational. Our friends, took a lot of the others and were very disappointed. Their entertainment at night in the lounges was also wonderful but too packed to be able to sit down, after coming out of the theater's show. The Casino was great and dealers very accommodating. Cons: The ship was definitely way overcrowded (over 2,000). We had a 5:30 dinner seating. In order to make the 8:15 p.m. show, we had to literaly run to the theater to get a seat and they were lousy seats as we sat in the back of the dining room and the crush of people getting out was nasy. We were told the problem was, 1,500 people were booked for the 5:30 p.m.dinner seating and only 500 for the second seating. Every evening there were constantly disappointed people who were not able to see the shows. On previous cruises, you could at least see the entertainers on TV from the evening before but they must have discontinued that. That was indeed a disappointment for the hundreds of people who were unable to get into the shows. The Windjamer (buffet), was adequate, but the crush of people and waiting for table sin the morning and lunch were terrible. We basically stuck with yogurt and a bananna at breakfast or eggs and simple salads or light at lunch. When we decided to eat breakfast at the Fair Lady the last few days, after we could no longer tolerate the crush of guests at the Windjammer, we found the food just adequate. The staff in the Windjammer were extremely accommodating! BTW, the soft ice cream bar outside the Windjammer is wonderful and has a choice of lowfat or the "high test". We had the constant feeling we were nickled and dimed to death with everything. $2.50 if you wanted freshly squeezed orange juice. Their so-so wine packages are ridiculously expensive. I can see they want you to buy their wine, but it has to be corked in dining room at dinner and you can take the rest with you. When my SO cut his arm on the tender, we stopped in the Medical facility to ask for a bandaide, so we didn't have to go to the cabin to get our own, he was told very sternly, they would give him one, but if he needed more, he'd have to go to the vending machine. The bandaide was so cheap, it came off immediately. By all means, skip the nutritional seminar at the fitness center. The first day was all about nutriotion but nothing new. He touted the second day's seminar regarding detoxing your body. That was a total waste of time, as he was only selling a product that amounted to hundreds and hundreds of dollars. I would have rather been relaxing in the solarium reading a book than wasting my time on an unproven product. The Canadian excursions our friends took, were just not worth it and didn't see anything at either stoped they'd care to return to. On their last excursion in Nova Scotia, they had to get on and off 3 different buses and wait in line, which was not acceptable. The jewelry you can get just as cheap or cheaper on land than on the ship. My S/O wanted to buy a Nikon camera for $299 and we checked and Walmart has it for $279. I got suckered into buying a Citizens Eco-Drive watch that does not have to be wound but runs on solar energy, which, of course, means no batteries. I was told I could not find it any cheaper and guaranteed. Well, when I returned here I found it the same price which was fine, but I also found they have a much bigger and nicer selection than on-board the ship. There were 3 large cruise ships in the ports at one time. We were told this is unusual and hence the reason for crowds everywhere, but wonder why excursion people in the city wouldn't have more things available; i.e. Peggy's Cove. Bottom line: Our friends agreed with us, the trip was just "ok". We loved getting together with them, and had a super time, but the over-crowded ship put a true damper on our entire trip. We were unable to get tickets to Peggy's Cove and everyone we talked to that did go, said it was spactacular. We were going to take a taxi to Peggy's Cove but it was $170 for each person! Would love to hear cruisers experiences on board ship for this trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We just completed a 7 night cruise on the RC Enchantment of the Seas, with our twin 11-year old boys. Let me preface my comments by saying, this was our 5th cruise, 3 on Carnival and now 2 on Royal Caribbean. We were looking forward ... Read More
We just completed a 7 night cruise on the RC Enchantment of the Seas, with our twin 11-year old boys. Let me preface my comments by saying, this was our 5th cruise, 3 on Carnival and now 2 on Royal Caribbean. We were looking forward to the ease of boarding in Baltimore as that is just over an hour's drive away from our home. Parking was shipside, and we were on the ship inside an hour of arriving at the port. Once we got to our Junior Suite, we were somewhat discouraged to see that the ship was pretty "tired". The cabinetry is quite old looking, and is in need of updating desperately. We did however have a flat screen TV, and a nice sized balcony. Our first, second, 12th meal and so on in the Windjammer, was bittersweet. The view is excellent, the food is not. The food on the entire cruise was quite disappointing. The best way to put it is just plain mediocre. In the Windjammer, we would joke about the "dried meat of the day" special. How can sliced roast beef taste like sandpaper?! The formal restaurant My Fair Lady had somewhat better food, not by far however, and the portions were very small. These discoveries were very disappointing when you so look forward to the food on a cruise. The entertainment on the ship was hit or miss, mostly miss. The singing and dancing shows were billed as "Broadway quality". Someone at RC needs to go back to Broadway. They were high school caliber at best. There was a hilarious comedy team called, John and Johnny B., they were terrific. The next night was a comedian named Dean Austin, that was painful to watch him self-destruct on stage. We were embarassed for him, it was beyond bad. The husband and wife team cruise directors tried very had to make things work with what they had. At times they seemed a little cheeky, but it must be hard to stay fresh week in and week out on these ships. Kids Club- Being that it was spring break week, we had over 900 kids on our ship of 2700 passengers. Our boys wanted to check out Kids Club, and it was packed! After an hour, and one kid throwing up in front of everyone, it was time to get them out. Having contracted the Noro Virus on our last cruise and confined to our cabin for 5 days, we were not taking any chances. They never went back to the club. Overall, I would rate this cruise 2 out of 5 stars. It is a small ship, the ports are okay, with the exception of Port Canaveral. There is a reason why that is an embarkation port, and should not be a destination port. Not much to do there. Nassau was nice, especially Atlantis. CocoKay was jam packed, as there was another ship there when we were there. At 9 am, they were already out of umbrellas for over 5000 people. I counted 30 on the beach, seriously?!! For a first time cruiser, this might be a good option, but for anyone that has cruised on another line, or is looking for more space to spread out, I would suggest going with something over the 100 gross ton category. In the meantime, the Enchantment needs to get a total facelift, and upgrade the food quality in a big way to be a serious cruise contender. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My husband and I went on this cruise for our 15th Wedding Anniversary (second honeymoon!) and had a fabulous time. Leaving from Baltimore was a lot more timely and seamless than we expected. I would say we were on the ship within an hour ... Read More
My husband and I went on this cruise for our 15th Wedding Anniversary (second honeymoon!) and had a fabulous time. Leaving from Baltimore was a lot more timely and seamless than we expected. I would say we were on the ship within an hour of getting to port. We were pleased with the amount of security as well. Ship didn't sail til 4 pm but we got there early and were able to eat Lunch at the Windjammer without too much of a crowd. Our rooms were ready at 1:30 pm. Despite what others have said, I think the ship was very up-to-date- we loved the Centrum-middle of the ship. Beautiful marble tiled floors, prism glass sculptures and glass elevators which overlooked it. The carpets all seemed pretty new and each of the cafes/meeting places/lounges were very upbeat and decorated nicely. Overall, I felt the ship was very elegant and that added to our experience. We booked a large inside stateroom, which was small, as you can imagine, but suited our purposes perfectly-we were not uncomfortable at all. Plenty of storage space. Our Room Steward Robert Lynch took very good care of us...every time we came back to the room the bed had been made, ice bucket refreshed, etc. (even made animals out of towels and put them on the bed). The only issue I had was that, without a window to see the sunshine come through, I often slept late because I couldn't tell what time it was! So, if this is a concern, be sure to book a room with a window. Dining experience: We had a wonderful Maitre'D and Assistant (her name was Donna and she was extremely pleasant). ALL of the staff on the ship were extremely pleasant and helpful, no matter who we came in contact with. Our waiter was Wayan and Asst Waiter was Jane. Took very good care of us. I cannot say enough about the food in the dining room. Extremely good - a gourmet meal every night. The desserts were fabulous too. We were originally scheduled for the 8:30 seating but were easily able to change it to my time dining (chged to 7 pm). Glad they had this service. They also gave us a table for two every night. The breakfast fare was the same in the dining room (a little stuffy for the morning if you ask me) as in the Windjammer, which is more casual (buffet style) so we ate our breakfasts there. I thought the food was great all around. The coffee was horrible though and there weren't any berries on the fruit buffet, but to each his own. Overall, the food was good here - for lunch as well. Formal nights were very elegant and fun - seeing all of the pretty outfits. Aside from those two nights, dress was pretty casual all around. Photos taken by the ship were very expensive (at least $19.95 per sheet). Although the photos turned out wonderfully, we didn't buy any because of the cost. Ports of call were great...we went to Port Canaveral, Florida, Nassau and CoCo Cay. Beautiful - white sand, blue water. We went on the glass bottom boat tour, which was fun. My only complaint on Coco Cay was that the food lines were long and the food was not replenished fast enough. This was our only source for food (Private island of the cruise ship so they provided the food. It was extremely crowded and annoying (other cruise ships were there at the same time- too many people at once if you ask me). It made it very difficult to find a beach chair as well. There were so many wonderful activities on the ship you could never get bored. (The Cruise Director was great - we found out he could sing too!) The gym was small but adequate and there was a 1/4 mile walking track on Deck 10. Very helpful after eating all that great food! Vivesh in the gym gave me the $35 metabolism evaluation - well worth the money...will show you where you are and what you need to do. He gave me some very valuable information about toxins that are in our bodies and how to get rid of them. I also had one session of ionothermie. Very good and "Sam" gave me a lot of valuable information too. But you must beware, they will try to sell you stuff -and it is NOT inexpensive. When I researched it at home, I can get the supplements and the treatments cheaper. Overall, we had a fabulous time. Royal Caribbean was the best! We hope to take our kids on a cruise with us within a year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We enjoyed our cruise a lot. Met some very friendly people. Hardly anybody was rude or pushy until near the end of the 12 days. Our stateroom was as expected and the attendant was terrific. We always came back to a clean cabin with plenty ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise a lot. Met some very friendly people. Hardly anybody was rude or pushy until near the end of the 12 days. Our stateroom was as expected and the attendant was terrific. We always came back to a clean cabin with plenty of fresh ice as requested. Many of our fellow travelers neglected to request early dining and so they were put on a waiting list. The dining room was so full at early seating that, at a table for 10, we barely spoke to the 2 couples at the other end. The noise was such that one had to yell to the person next to him. This was because of the sheer volume of people trying to speak at a normal level. On day 2 service was terrible. The Captain's table was opened for an additional 20 guests and our waitstaff was overburdened. Even the head waiter was serving. We couldn't fault the servers, though. You could see that they were working hard and all pitching in to help. After that one night service was smooth. All of the dining room staff was efficient and courteous.We heard that the late dining was only about 1/2 full, but 8:30 was too late for us to be starting dinner. The food was good and, as long as you could order as much as you wanted, plentiful. Chops had the best food on board, as it should for an additional $30/person. Early dining was at 6PM and late at 8:30. The theater times were 8:45 and 10:30. If we went straight to the theater after early dining we had to wait at least 1 hour before the show started. I nearly fell asleep waiting. If you waited until later to go to the theater there were no seats left. We saw one early and one late show only. The islands were, of course, beautiful. Even when there was rain we were happy to be there. The worst part of the entire holiday came at the very end. After disembarkation we were to take a shuttle bus back to our hotel to get our car. We were in the parking lot with our luggage around 10:00. The shuttle wasn't allowed to come to us so we had to move all of our stuff across the parking lot. The shuttle finally arrived at 11ish. Surprisingly there was no room in the van for us. We were told by one of her traveling companions that a cruise critics friend, had encouraged some airport bound friends of hers to take our shuttle. We were displaced by people who were not even going to our hotel! We had to wait an extra hour standing in the parking lot surrounded by our luggage before another van could be dispatched to pick us up. We didn't get on the road until after noon. Finally got home about 8:30 that night. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I guess we could be described as PURE cruisers... we don't follow the routines followed by most reviewers. We have NO timetables or commitments to ANY activities aboard ship... we just allow each day to unfold on its own. Cruising ... Read More
I guess we could be described as PURE cruisers... we don't follow the routines followed by most reviewers. We have NO timetables or commitments to ANY activities aboard ship... we just allow each day to unfold on its own. Cruising out of Baltimore is shear joy and convenience for us... a 20-minute limo ride from home in Northern Baltimore County to Locust Point Marine Terminal; quick and easy Diamond-Tier check-in and embarkation; early lunch in the Windjammer... PRICELESS!! We love the beautiful Caribbean, and usually book two consecutive cruises of at least 21 nights. One-time unpacking and having the same cabin for both legs is especially luxurious. Three glorious weeks allow us to casually experience all aspects of the cruise experience without pressure to follow schedules or pre-selected activities. Morning usually begins with "Diamond" breakfast, afforded to Diamond tier and above Crown & Anchor members. Leisurely, walk-in seating for two and personal service with freshly prepared fare is a wonderful way to quietly begin the day. A central "requirement" of cruising seems to revolve around evening dining. Considerable emphasis is placed on specific seating times, table locations, and number of guests at each numbered table... all of which we find too regimented. Often, we are enjoying a beautiful sunset, or the gorgeous lights of the islands, or a fine glass of wine in the Viking Lounge with friends, or just plain relaxing and talking... so, we don't want to rush off to dinner. Also, we avoid Formal Night, contented with the comfortable casual attire of the day. Consequently, we rarely, if ever, dine in the main dining room. For us, the casual abundant Windjammer suits our style best. Certainly, My Fair Lady lunch or dinner is exquisite and the service is excellent... but we find the seating arrangements tight and confining compared to the Windjammer, where we can choose our table-- intimate for two, or with a group of friends-- hassle-free AND with an unbelievable panoramic view, day or night. Dress is always casual, affording a relaxing transition from daytime to evening without "dressing up". Admittedly, the "Jammer" can be loud and very busy; so,we have learned to avoid the "rush hours". Also, we found the vast variety of food to be over-abundant and very tasty. The management and wait staff go out of their way to please us. This is NOT an endorsement of the Jammer nor a censure of My Fair Lady, rather my opinion of a better way to dine aboard Enchantment... without time constraints or schedules. We rarely book shore excursions in advance. On any given day, we decide either to go ashore or stay aboard... so we usually visit the Exlorations!Desk at the last minute. We have NEVER been turned down for a side trip. We believe advance planning or pre-paid activities and tips detract from the quality and spontaneity of the cruise experience. Cruising is a PERSONAL adventure, and Royal Caribbean respects the desires of EACH passenger to do their own thing. There's something for everybody aboard Enchantment of the Seas. If ya can't be pleased aboard her, then ya can't be pleased ANYWHERE! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Enchantment of the Seas -- Feb 27 -- March 10, 2012 February 25, 2012 -- Travel Day Well, here I am at a restaurant in LAX waiting for brunch followed by a flight to Baltimore. Today is Saturday and the cruise leaves on Monday. So ... Read More
Enchantment of the Seas -- Feb 27 -- March 10, 2012 February 25, 2012 -- Travel Day Well, here I am at a restaurant in LAX waiting for brunch followed by a flight to Baltimore. Today is Saturday and the cruise leaves on Monday. So first let me give you a little basic information about myself. This is my 19th cruise overall, my 7th cruise with Royal Caribbean and my first cruise on a Vision class ship. The prior cruise left on February 18, or at least it was supposed to leave on the 18th. It actually left the following day because of some engine problems. Supposedly the problem was fixed in Port Canaveral and we were advised that our cruise would go as planned. However, we have since learned that the engine is still not at fully repaired and that our last stop, Labadee, has been replaced by a day at sea so that the ship can cruise at a slower speed. However, we are staying an extra four to eight hours at three of the five stops plus we are getting a ship board credit (we don't know the amount yet). I actually like this new itinerary better (not a lot better -- but a little better). I do like Labadee, however, I've been there twice and not having to rush back to the ship at the other ports is a big plus (I do have the late dinner seating). Now I just hope it does not rain in St. Maarten. The first time I was there I wanted to go to Orient Beach, but it was raining and I didn't want to travel all the way across the island in the rain. The second time I was in St. Maarten I went to Maho Beach where the landing jets are just a few feet overhead. So, I have my sights set on Orient Beach again and this time I've got a lot of extra time. Since there is a lot of interest in how the ship is doing I am going to try and post updates while on the ship. I have only done that once before. Since I write my review will on the ship that should work out. I'll also try to post some pictures; we will see how that works out. The taxi arrived in time to pick me up, but because the dispatcher did not provide the special instructions I provided in the e-mail, it took him a while to get to me. Nonetheless in less then ninety minutes I am through security (the lines were very short) and I am wondering what I am going to do during the two hours prior to boarding. Already something strange happened. I paid for the taxi with a credit card. When I tried to add the tip the driver refused. He had already input the amount and could not change it. Next time he'll know to ask first. So I end up having brunch and then working on this. In about 6 hours I should be in Baltimore. I choose this flight because it is a non-stop into BWI. When I booked it, it was scheduled to leave at 10am. United pushed the time back two hours which means I'll arrive in Baltimore at night. Oh well, a non-stop in the winter is still safer than a stop over in Denver or Chicago (I will end up stopping in Chicago on the way home -- but I don't care if I am late getting home. Well it is a half hour until we begin boarding, so I'll be back at you in Baltimore. I made it to Baltimore. Nothing special about the flight except that we flew over two other jets. I would guess that they were two thousand feet below us. I've never had that view before (usually I am looking up at the jets). Well, it is time to just relax I'll be back at you tomorrow. February 26, 2012 -- Baltimore Today I went out around 10am to see if I can find an inexpensive replacement watch (the band on my watch broke). Apparently they don't unroll the sidewalks around here until noon on Sunday. I can't believe that everyone is wearing jackets. I'm from Southern California and all I had was a polo shirt, and I was quite comfortable. However, inside they have the temperature dialed up too high. My thoughts, what a bunch of wimps. There are three small malls around the inner harbor that are all related. There is the Light Street Mall, the Pratt Street Mall and The Gallery. Light Street has nothing. Pratt Street has a high end store that looks like that if it has what I want it will be four times the amount I want to spend. Nonetheless it will be about ninety minutes until I can look inside. So I go to The Gallery. Another possibility but all I see are high end watches. So I go upstairs for brunch. I find an Oriental wok that is open. I've always felt that Oriental fast food restaurants should be called run, not wok, but that is just my opinion. At any rate on the way back out I looked in the watch store and this time I found they also have Timex watches. An hour later for $20 bucks I had my replacement watch. Then it was off to the National Aquarium. The first thing I quickly realized is that I was not the only person who decided to visit the aquarium today. It is a nice aquarium; however, I like the one in Long Beach, California better. For a little extra one can attend a dolphin show and a 4D movie. I've seen dolphin shows before, so I skipped that. But the 4D movie experience seemed interesting. It is a 3D movie, including the special glasses, with other effects added, such as squirting water, blowing air and something in the chair that would poke everyone in the back at just the right time. The effects were something else. Well worth the five dollar charge. Add in the fact that I was sitting between two girls and I had a 5D experience in stereo. On the way back to the hotel stopped off at a very tall World Trade Center. For five bucks I got a ride to the 27th floor with a fantastic view of Baltimore, including the cruise dock which was currently occupied by the Carnival Pride, and hopefully the Enchantment of the Seas tomorrow. Back at the hotel room I looked out in the direction of the dock. Though I have a great view of the Inner Harbor, I was unable to see the cruise ship dock from my fourth floor room. Speaking of the hotel, how come the more expensive the room, the more they charge for Internet use. I paid thirteen dollars for 24 hours of use. So I'm paying thirteen times what I pay at home for one tenth the speed. And they call this high speed Internet? After a long day I figured I would go to the in house restaurant. It was even more expensive than I thought it would be. Fifty dollars for something that I pay $35 for back home. Well, it is late and tomorrow is embarkation day. So, good night for now. February 27, 2012 -- Embarkation Day This morning I learn that the hotel delivers the bill the same way the ships do. They slipped it under my door early in the morning. My plan is to get ready to leave around 10am and that should get me out of the hotel by 10:30am and to the dock by 11am. So the next time you hear from me I'll be on the ship. Well I made it on board. But first a surprise, the taxi's credit card machine is not working. I made it very clear to him that that was something he should have mentioned before I got in the taxi. I left the hotel a little after 10:30am and I was through security and checked into the priority boarding area by 11:10am. While I'm waiting I read the handout. Its says ... Dear Enchantment of the Seas Guest: We would like to provide you with important information regarding modifications to your scheduled itinerary. We attempted to reach every guest with phone calls on Friday, February 24, and we apologize if for any reason you did not receive our message. On Saturday, February 18, while Enchantment of the Seas was docked in Baltimore, Maryland, we became aware of a mechanical issue with one of the ship's two port propulsion motors. We were able to bring technicians onboard that assisted us in making repairs that restored partial power to the affected motor. However, despite the repairs to the second propulsion motor, the ship is cruising at a reduced rate of speed. It should be noted that this issue has no impact on the maneuverability of the ship or on the safety of our guests and crew. After reviewing your scheduled itinerary and taking the ship's reduced speed into account, it is necessary to make some adjustments. We apologize for this development and regret its impact on your scheduled itinerary. We have made every effort to minimize the disruption, and have also extended your stays in several ports of call. Your revised itinerary will be: Monday -- Baltimore, Maryland - Departure 4:00pm (no change) Tuesday -- at sea (no change) Wednesday -- at sea (no change) Thursday -- at sea (no change) Friday -- Tortola, B.V.I. - Arrive 8:00am - Depart 6:00pm (depart one hour later) Saturday -- St. Johns, Antigua - Arrive 8:00am -- Depart 1:30am (depart 8 ½ hours later) Sunday -- Philipsburg, St. Maarten -- Arrive 8am -- Depart 12:30am (depart 7.5 hrs later) Monday -- Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas -- Arrive 8am -- Depart 6pm (depart 1 hr later) Tuesday -- San Juan, Puerto Rico -- Arrive 7:00am -- Depart 5:00pm (depart 4 hours later) Wednesday - at sea (skipping Labadee) Thursday -- at sea (no change) Friday -- at sea (no change) Saturday -- Baltimore, Maryland -- arrive 7:00am (no change) As a gesture of goodwill, and to thank you for your cooperation, Royal Caribbean International will provide your stateroom with an onboard credit of $300. The credit will be applied directly to your onboard account and may be applied to any onboard purchases. Any unused portion of this will be refunded to you. Also, as it is necessary to cancel your call to Labadee, Haiti, guests who purchased shore excursions for Labadee will have those funds automatically refunded to them in the form of credit to their onboard account. Again, we apologize for these developments and their impact on your scheduled itinerary and your vacation. Our entire onboard team will do its very best to make your sailing as enjoyable as possible. Signed Captain Gus Andersson, Master, Enchantment of the Seas Boarding began shortly after 11:30am. The first thing I did was drop my carry-on bags in the room. I made sure the room steward knew I had dropped off the bags; I took my camera and then got out of his way. The next thing I did was take pictures around the ship. Then I grabbed lunch, a mixture of lunch meat, sliced cheese and pasta. While looking for a table I ran into a couple of people from the roll call, so we chatted a bit. We have agreed to meet in the Viking Lounge after muster. After lunch I walked the ship some more as the cabins were not ready yet. I found my dining table, it sits four. Rats, I wanted a large table. Oh well. I do remember the last time I had a four top my only other table mate only showed up half the time. I returned to my cabin shortly after 1:30pm. My bags have not arrived yet. However, luggage did arrive outside my door before 2:00pm. I found a couple of issues with my cabin and went looking for my cabin steward. The two issues are: 1) if I want ice I have to request it and 2) the sink stopper is down and I can't get it back up. I found out the room steward would return around 3:00pm. So I left the cabin door open and started to unpack. My plan worked to perfection. My room steward saw my open door and can in. Soon I had ice and the sink was unplugged. Life is good. Just as I finish packing there are seven short blasts on the horn followed by one long blast. Time for the muster drill. We do not take our life jackets. Roll is taken at the muster station. This was the shortest drill I have ever attended. There was a demonstration on how to put on the life jackets and then the captain announced the drill was over. It was so quick I thought the captain was kidding, but that was in fact the end of the muster drill. So I headed up to the Viking Lounge to meet the rest of the roll call group. 81 signed up and 50 -- 60 showed up, including a couple with three young active children. I know the parents though the kids were bothering me, but they were not. At any rate the kids noticed my belly stuck out further than the rest of me. I told them it was because I eat little children. For some reason when I asked, they all denied tasting good. I'm sure they keep their parent on their toes, but I though it was kind of fun. Soon we left port and soon after than we sailed under a bridge. It sure didn't look like we were going to make it, but there was likely at least two to three meters clearance. By this time it was after 5:00pm and I went back to my cabin and found what I call the Travel Channel. It is actually the ship information channel. It provided heading, speed and position information. Then I uploaded my photographs, 155 from the prior two days and over 220 today, too the computer for better viewing (fortunately for me, digital pictures are free to develop). Then I started on this. It is 8:00pm and I head down to dinner. The buffet is in the front of the ship and the restaurant is in the rear of the ship. I am in a rear facing junior suite. I'll make diamond about half way through the cruise. I get to the restaurant and I'm the first to arrive at the table. Naturally the waiter wants to know if my friends are coming. I have no idea, so I say I don't know. After a while no one shows up. My waiter asks again and I explain I'm cruising alone and have no idea who is assigned to the table. I order and as you can imagine I'm the first one finish. I don't mean the first one at the table; I mean the first one in the section. I finished dessert and I am out of the dining room in less than one hour. So I come back to finish this, which I have now done. So now it is time to edit the pictures so that I can upload them. We will see if I can make this work. February 28, 2012 -- Day at Sea I wake up around 6:00am. I check outside and there are no clouds, so I'm not getting dressed for a sunrise picture if there are no clouds to make it look good. We are out in the Atlantic Ocean now moving along at 19 knots according to the Travel Channel which is acting very strange. First, just as we left Baltimore the Travel Channel showed that we had traveled 144 miles (in less than one hour? I don't think so!). Then it showed a graphic that indicated we were 90% of the way to our first port of call (we will not arrive until next month). I later figured out that this was a useless graphic to show that the blue line shows how far we traveled and the red line shows how far we have to go. Personally I think it would be less confusing if this graphic was eliminated completely. Finally it seems there are three or four different programs all competing for screen time. After each gets its twenty seconds of fame the display suddenly changes, sometimes right before the information I want to see is displayed. And finally, yesterday it kept pointing out that there will be a lifeboat drill at 3:30pm. If it wants to be accurate it should have said the lifeboat drill was held at 3:30pm today (at least after embarkation day that screen does not pop up anymore). The bathroom could do with a few design changes. There is about an eight second delay from turning on the bathroom light until it actually comes on. Also, there is only one light in the bathroom, which makes the shower a little dark with the curtain closed. I'm in a junior suite, so I have a tub/shower combination. Finally the back of the tub does not end at the wall. Instead there is a two inch flat space that drains onto the bathroom floor. After I'm done in the shower the bathroom floor is flooded, forcing me to dry off in the bedroom area (at least from the ankles down). And finally there is one strange quirk. The knob that controls the water temperature has button that much be pushed in (sort of like the button one must push to move an automatic transmission out of park) to get the hottest water temperatures. That is a safety issue and I understand it. However, there is a similar button on the knob that controls the volume of water. What, did someone drown in the shower because there was too much water coming out of the shower head? My balcony is half covered and half open, so even if it rains I can still use my balcony. However, just above me is the spa, so no going out in just my underwear this cruise. The weather is very nice. The expected high is 66 degrees and the ocean surface has small waves. I would guess no more than three feet high. I head over to the Windjammer for breakfast. All of the food serving stations are in one central area. I don't think this is such a good idea as it could create some real crowding. However, I did not experience any problems this morning, so we will have to see how this works out. My cooked to order omelet request was taken as soon as I got in line. I was able to grab a few other things with no problems and then I headed back to my cabin so I could eat breakfast on the balcony. And now it is time to see if I can upload everything and post. Well, this morning's attempt to connect to the Internet was a complete bust. It was so slow that I never got connected. So I'll try again this afternoon. I signed up to meet with the loyalty ambassador tomorrow at 5:30pm and went back to the cabin. At noon the captain made his noon time announcement. He has quite a sense of humor. At any rate, we are at 34 degrees 34 minutes north and 74 degrees and 90 minutes west, or about 70 miles from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. We have sailed 313 nautical miles and have about 1109 nautical miles to go. The seas are five to six feet and the water temperature is 72 degrees. So, if we have to travel 1422 nautical miles in 82 hours, then the ship has to average 17 1/3 knots. Meanwhile I've got a Meet & Mingle coming up on just under half an hour and I have a few things I don't really need, want or plan to use, such as the welcome back gift from Royal Caribbean (I'm sure the kids will enjoy the sweets more than I) and coupons for coffee (I don't drink coffee) or tattoos (again for the kids), sea pets (kids) and the casino (I don't gamble). Nonetheless there are plenty of coupons I can use (discounts on the Internet, laundry, the gift shop and wine). The M&M was great. Lots of prizes and lots of people (over one hundred in my estimation -- I know we were well over one hundred in registered guests). I didn't win any prizes -- boo! Sure enough the kids took care of the sweets. And the parents accepted the coffee, tattoo and stuffed pet coupons (apparently this is their first cruise, so they didn't have any coupons). I found some gamblers to take the casino coupons off my hands. After the meeting we sat and talked a bit, then I decided to grab a late lunch (one of the big advantages of a late dinner is you can eat a late lunch and still have six hours until dinner). I should add that the parents told me that their children are really enjoying Adventure Ocean (the kids program). I would estimate the children's ages as being between five and seven. I am kind of surprised at the small selection in the onboard stores. Almost everything I want either they don't have in my size or I already have it. I took my good camera out to get some pictures, but some clouds showed up and there are very few people on deck or in the swimming pools. I brought three cameras with me, a DSLR a travel sized point & shoot camera that fits in my pocket and an underwater camera. Basically I only use the DSLR on the ship and on photo excursions. Otherwise I use the travel P&S camera unless I'm going in the water, then I use the underwater camera. So I'm back in the cabin, uploading my photographs and working on this. Then I'll try connecting to the Internet again. Well I still have not been able to remotely (wireless) connect to the Internet. I'll try again tonight. All this running around (Saturday, Sunday, Monday and today) is starting to get to me. A cruise, especially days at sea, should be relaxing. There is a production show tonight at 10pm and I am going to try the Internet again after that, so suddenly a nap sounds like a good idea. Besides, tonight we have to set our watches ahead one hour, so an hour and a half nap fits nicely into the schedule. After my nap it is too early for the captain's party (formal night) so with nothing better to do I decide to look at watches. I'm getting a fairly good sized OBC and while I don't have to spend it, it will not hurt my budget if I do. I have been interested in Citizen Watches for a while and decide to check them out. The only problem is the only ones I am interested in have a date function that is too small to easily be read. The salesman sees me and I tell him I like some of the watches I see, but the date is too small. He shows me an Invicta which seems to be pretty close to what I want. It is not too big (some of the watches I saw could double as an exercise weight). I have not verified my credit yet, but it is at least $175, so I buy the watch. I should be able to verify the amount of my credit tomorrow. One bad thing, while I'm watch shopping the sun sets (oops -- I wanted to try for a sunset picture). I could shop for watches any time, there were clouds in the sky, might have been a really nice sunset -- I'll never know. So I dress (nice pants, shoes, shirt and tie, but no jacket) and I get to meet the captain and have my picture taken with him. There are free drinks and toward the end the captain gives his little speech (great sense of humor) and he introduces the senior staff. Then it is time for dinner. On the way out I meet four people from the roll call. I sit and chat a while, but I don't want to be too late for dinner. Still, it was nice to chat a bit with people from the roll call. It is just me at the table again tonight. The head waiter comes over while I am eating my shrimp cocktail and is concerned that I am all alone, a concern my waiter seems to share. Both of them are going way above and beyond to make sure I'm having a good time. So I end up with a second shrimp cocktail and I have the beef for dinner. Both very good and I'm finished with dinner before 9pm. So, with a little time to kill I go to the C&A lounge and read the instruction for the watch and then look over the 167 page Worldwide Cruise planner for 2012 -- 2013 (my Crown & Anchor appointment is for tomorrow at 5:30pm). By this time it is 9:40pm and I head over to the Orpheum lounge (the main show lounge) and find a nice seat. The show is called, "Can't Stop the Rock". It is a tribute to great movie music. The show was okay -- I prefer a little more energy. To my surprise we are told no flash photography and no recording. That used to be restriction at all the shows. However, as cameras have gotten better the new restriction is no photography of any kind (meaning with or without flash). My little travel camera (the one that fits in my pocket) is okay for non-flash photography in dim lighting, but my DSLR (which is back in the cabin) is great at it. I take some pictures and they turn out okay. For the next production show I attend I'm bringing my DSLR. I try connecting to the Internet again and again I can't. Okay, I head over to guest services (there is no Internet manager) and ask what the problem is. Apparently Royal Caribbean doesn't like Firefox, so I have to use IE, and I'm connected. There are signs that warn that this is not broadband. Well, it is even slower than dial-up. It is painfully slow. I am going nuts. I don't think I will be able to continue to post pictures. Even reduced to just 100K each, the pictures took a long time to upload. With that size picture even dial-up is fast. At least the cut and pasting of the text into each post went fast. It took 67 minutes to upload 18 small pictures (so I could post the pictures) along with my three cut and paste posts. This little experiment is not going well picture wise. I'll have to consider carefully my choice to post pictures. Now granted some of the issues are related to this being the first time I took this computer on a cruise. I need to download a program (when I get home) to make uploading to Photobucket faster. Also I installed Works but had not registered it yet, and for some reason could while at the hotel (Firefox issues again?). The main problem this causes is I can only use Word 50 times before I register it. So to be safe, while at the hotel, I downloaded Open Office which is compatible with Word (and it is free). It took more than an hour and a half at the hotel, but it allows me to continue with this until I get home and get Works registered. And now, since we had to move our clocks ahead one hour, it is 2:00am. Good thing tomorrow (well actually today -- actually today and tomorrow) is a sea day. Good night!February 29, 2012 -- Day at Sea I'm up in time for sunrise (after only five hours of sleep). However, I have to go on deck because we are headed more or less toward the sun and I have a rear facing balcony. The sunrise is not that good because while there are some nice clouds overhead, there is also a line of clouds on the horizon, which means the sun will be higher in the sky when it rises. This means more light which means faded colors. I get a few good pictures. Since I'm here at the front of the ship, as is the Windjammer, I decide to grab breakfast which I take back to the cabin to enjoy on my balcony. It is supposed to get to be 80 today, so I guess the fun will start for those that like to lie out by or in the pool. There is a welcome back party at 7:15pm and I have my C&A appointment at 5:30pm, so I guess my early evening time is full. So my plan is to shower, go to guest services to verify the amount of my OBC, check out the stores to give the room steward time to do his thing and to see if they put anything new out that I might want. Then I don't know what. Well, first I go to Guest Services. I get a print out of my account, but the credit is still not showing. Then I go to the store, nothing new inside, but out in the hall there is a nice jacket that will fit me. The one in the store is white, too small and $50. The one in the hall is black, fits and is $90. I'll consider it later. Next I go to the photo shop and purchase a couple of photographs from last night (one at a 50% discount via the coupon) and a picture of the ship. When I return to my cabin I realize I made a big mistake. Talk about best laid plans. I put the card upside down, so that "do not disturb" was up. As a result my room has not been cleaned. Well, nothing I can do about that. I turn the card right side up and go inside. I upload my morning pictures and I hear a knock on the door. I apologize to the room steward, grab my computer and go to the Internet Cafe to continue this. Then back down to Guest Services to turn in my form to have the gratuities charged to my room (I always do this so that I don't have to bring so much cash). I am working in the Centrum on this and choosing which photographs to upload when suddenly I hear the captain giving his noon time announcement. Unfortunately the speaker is not very good and I can barely understand half of what he is saying. I have no idea where the morning went. The last five hours seems more like three. I guess time flies when you are having fun and not trying to connect to the Internet, which is exactly what I am going to do once I go back to the cabin and get my other battery. The last thing I want is for the battery to run out of juice while I'm trying to upload things on the Internet. It is slow enough without adding problems of my own. Well, I managed to get six more photographs uploaded to Photobucket. I also managed to answer a few questions and start my fourth post. Then the connection went down. I couldn't even log off. I went to guest relations and I could hear someone else explaining the same problem I was going to tell them about. So, there is a special website we can log into to see how many minutes we used, and sure enough while I could not do anything, including log off, the timer kept running and I had no time left. Maryna Maksimuk helped me get running yesterday and gave me $20 credit today. I felt was fair and told her so. There have been three people who have really stood out so far, my room steward, my waiter and Maryna. But I have only one wow reward card. I may end up giving that to my waiter (Antonio) and finding some way to make sure Frederick Carpio (my room steward) and Maryna both get some credit. After all, this is only day three of a twelve day cruise. I realize there are all sorts of issues providing Internet service to a moving ship at sea, and I don't blame Royal Caribbean for the problems. But the cost is high (anywhere from 30 to 65' per minute, depending on how you buy your minutes), the speed is so slow that dial-up would be considered an upgrade and this is frustrating. I'm on vacation. If I want to be frustrated I'll go back to work and get paid for it (I like my job, but it is frustrating at times). At any rate, it is time for a new plan. I'm going to make sure today's post survived (when the Internet comes back up -- it is still down) and if not, recreate it. Then tomorrow I post today's comments without pictures, and that will be it for the rest of the cruise. I'll continue to write my review each day and will post my full review with full sized pictures when I get home. That is how I normally do it. It is quick, easy, much less expensive and far less frustrating. Well, since writing the above I note a lot of interest in JS cabins. Since I am in one I'll attempt to upload six more photos and post them with my final post (that being today's review). Whatever happens that will be that. I'll check for questions later, but posting to the Internet has lost its fun factor. The travel channel has turned into the forward cam view channel. So now I don't even know where we are. Since I am not driving I guess it is not real important that I don't know where we are, but still it would be nice to have the information channel and the forward view channel be separate channels. This morning I noticed that we were also almost half way to Tortola. Noon today would be the halfway point, so I guess we are on schedule. Therefore, after my hot dog and ice cream lunch I'm heading to the pool to cool off. Well, I said I wanted to cool off in the pool, but I was not counting on the water being as cold as it was. The Travel Channel said the pool water was 84 degrees. I would say the pools are closer to 72 degrees and the hot tubs might be 84 degrees. So, I went into the hot tub. There is quite a strong wind blowing across the pool deck. The wind is strong enough that when the water is forced up by the bubbles in the hot tub the wind catches it and blows into the face of anyone sitting downwind. Soon I'll head over to the C&A lounge for my appointment and then later will be time for the welcome back party. I purchased a future cruise certificate at the C&A lounge and then bought a couple of shirts at the store. I returned the cabin and the lack of sleep clearly is catching up with me. I half doze off until 7pm when it is time to get ready for the welcome back party. I'm so tired I forget my camera. The captain's speech and the loyalty ambassador's speech end early and I decide to head out to dinner. The captain was standing there and nobody was talking to him, so I decided to talk to him. I told him when I was gold I had a gold SeaPass card, when I was platinum I had a gray SeaPass card. Now I'm emerald and my SeaPass card is not green (I showed it to him -- it is silver). He was caught completely by surprise. Then he pulled out his card which was green (the room stewards have the same card -- it gets them into the cabins they service). We had a good laugh. I thanked him and went back to the cabin and retrieved by travel camera. When I tried to take a picture in the MDR the travel camera didn't work. Apparently I have one bad battery (I brought six rechargeable batteries and the camera requires two at a time). I start to review all the little things that have gone wrong: 1) United pushed back the departure time of my flight causing me to arrive at night. 2) The problems with the ship meant I need to pay for Internet access at the hotel which is expensive. However, to be fair it allowed me to download Open Office which is allowing me to type this without worrying about how often I access the word processor. 3) The ship's engine problems result in a modified itinerary. Admittedly I like the modified itinerary better (plus an OBC to boot). 4) My broken watch band. 5) When I sign up for Internet access the computer changes my choice from the 250 minute plan to the 100 minute plan. Again this ends up being beneficial as I am so frustrated with the slow Internet access that I don't want to go much beyond 120 minutes (about half the time I originally was going to sign up for). 6) I put the make up the room card in upside down, so my cabin is not made while I am out. 7) The many problems with the Internet access. 8) Having a table all by myself (though I must admit, my waiter and head waiter are both making sure I am having a good time -- which I am). 9) Forgetting my camera at the welcome back party -- which would not have matters because of ... 10) The bad battery. 11) The wacky ship information channel. I really do pay a lot of attention to the information on that channel. If I want to see what the forward view is, I'll walk there myself. 12) Having to use IE instead of Firefox. 13) The light in the bathroom takes too long to come on. 14) Forgetting to register Word before leaving home. 15) When I was packing I accidentally packed a Carnival shirt. All minor to be sure, all taken care of (in one way or another) and none having a negative affect on my cruise. But still, what is next (it better not rain in St. Maarten)? And of course there are a lot of positives: 1) I'm having a great time. 2) I met some very nice people. 3) The crew is one of the most helpful I have ever had the pleasure to sail with. 4) I like the modified itinerary better. 5) $300 OBC. Though lesser in number, the positives easily outweigh the negatives. At any rate I order the chicken for dinner and my waiter says it is very good. He is right, it was very good. We also talked about the empty chairs. I asked if others had been assigned to the table -- yes. My waiter wondered what happened to them. I said I did hear a big splash. That got a laugh out of my waiter. After dinner I head over to photography to look for the formal night photographs. There are fewer photographs than I am used to seeing and thus I find all my pictures very quickly. I buy two. Then I head back to the cabin to finish this and then I'll try the Intent again. I actually have access in the cabin. The connection is not as good as it is at the Internet Cafe, but it does work. Then after that I'm going to catch up on the sleep I missed last night. So until next month -- good night. Oh wait, the travel channel is showing information again. As of 10:48pm we have sailed 906 miles from Baltimore and have 516 miles to go. With 32 hours until the scheduled arrival in Tortola, the ship will have to average a little over 16 knots to make it on time, so we should be okay. March 1, 2012 -- Day at Sea OMG -- I uploaded six photographs and posted in only 12 minutes last night. Perhaps the access is faster at night when no one else is using the computers. At any rate -- good morning! I didn't wake up until 8am. Sure was nice to get caught up on my beauty sleep. Dolphin Tale was on TV. It was a very good movie. Finally around 10am I go to breakfast. Good thing today is a sea day. I've been at sea for 2 ½ consecutive days going down to Acapulco, so this will be the longest time I've spent at sea, three full days plus an extra sixteen hours (eight on each side of the three days). It has been very relaxing, other than when I'm trying to upload photographs to the Internet via the ship. I head out to breakfast, making sure to put the please make up my room card right side up. Then I check for questions on the Internet. There are a few. I've got time, so I decide to do the necessary research. I had to get creative and sneaky (translation -- don't try this at home). I went to the spa and the MDR and asked the questions that were posted. Then I went back online to provide the answers. After that I went to guest relations to get a printout of my onboard account. Finally, confirmation of my OBC, it is $300. When I get back to my cabin confirmation of my Chops reservation is waiting for me. I told my waiter last night that I would be at Chops tonight. Soon there is a call from the shore excursion desk. My Antigua Stingray Swim has been moved back two hours. Okay by me. I will not have to be one of the early people off the ship. The captain made his noon time announcement. We have traveled 1152 miles (I compute that as and average of 17.2 knots) since leaving Baltimore and we have 272 miles (I compute that as needing to average 14.3 knots) more to go to reach our first port (or starboard -- depends on which side of the ship the dock is on). We are expecting moderate seas (7 to 9 feet). The air temperature is 77 degrees and the sea temperature is 79 degrees. And, we are only a little over three miles from land (though that land is covered by over three miles of saltwater). It is turning out to be a really nice day. So I'm going back on deck, take a few pictures, grab a quick lunch then perhaps try out the pool again. So, until later. Well today the pool water was perfect. For some reason the rear pool is warmer than the forward pool. Too bad there aren't more kids on the cruise. The water is really sloshing around inside the pools and I know the kids would love it. Though there are a few kids around the pool deck, there were never more than two in the pool during the time I was in the pool. I would guess there are about 50 kids on the cruise, most of who seem to be enjoying the kids program. After a nice dip in the pool I spend a few minutes in the hot tub talking to one of the other passengers from Canada. Then back to the cabin to relax and get ready for Chops. Chops was good. Was it better than the MDR -- yes. Was it $30 better -- not in my opinion. Still, it and the buffet are the only other options, and I eat breakfast and lunch in the buffet, so Chops offers a nice change of pace. After dinner I take my camera up to the pool deck for some night time photographs. Then it is back to the cabin to update this, upload my photos and check for more questions on the Internet. After that it is time for bed, as tomorrow I have an 8am sightseeing tour. So good night for now. March 2, 2012 -- Tortola, B.V.I. Well, after a full three plus days at see we finally found dry land. Well, it was a little wet around the edges, but the middle was dry. I had a power breakfast -- one banana. While putting my computer away I discovered I packed a mouse. While typing I can't help but accidentally touch the touch pad mouse which causes all sorts of strange things to happen -- none of them good. Fortunately I can turn off the touch pad mouse on this computer and use the hand held mouse. My tour was at 8:00am. We were supposed to meet on the pier at 7:45am. We docked on time, which meant there was no way I could be on the pier at 7:45am. So I was suck with the group that likes to get off first. This is the first time I've had to join the first group. After all the pushing and shoving and scratching and biting I made it off the ship. I'm glad I will not have to be one of the first off the ship for the rest of the cruise. I signed up for a tour of the island with several stops for pictures and a stop at a resort on the beach. The first thing I did was go to the Internet Cafe, which is only $5 for fifteen minutes (which is one third to one half of the ship's price). The Internet speed was okay, but the computer, it was slooooow! In fact it was so slow that instead of an hourglass to show that the computer was working, there was a calendar. I would have through it was a 486 except it was running Windows XP. Then after picking up some shirts for me, a shot glass for a friend and coffee for my sister and brother-in-law, I rented a lounge chair for $5.00 and just relaxed. I choose this tour for the photo opportunities and thus took my good camera (not my travel camera) with me. As a result I had no plans to go anywhere near the saltwater. Besides, tomorrow I'll be swimming in it, along with a few stingrays. Speaking of which, the pools on the ship are not saltwater. I though only Freedom class and up had freshwater pools, but this ship's pool was not saltwater. At any rate the tour returned at lunch time, so I headed to the buffet. There I found two officers having lunch. So I asked about the engine. The ship uses several combustion engines to turn generators which power the ship. Each screw (the propellers on a ship are called screws) is turned by one electric propulsion motor. One motor is working fine and the other motor is able to reach full RPM, but not full torque. Thus the engine cannot push the ship at full speed. Has the engine been repaired yet -- no. Is there an estimate on when it will be repaired -- no. The parts they need have to be manufactured. Then they can finish the repairs. The two men I spoke to spoke with had a Norwegian accent, so I am sure they knew what they were taking about. Actually, I believe I was talking to the Staff Captain and one of the other bridge officers, so I am very confident that this information is accurate. After lunch I'm back here updating this. Then I'll go on the Internet with the information about the engines, and then off to the pool. It is turning into a very nice day, which means sunny, very warm and humid. I'll return when the pool starts to fill up with people returning from their tours. A correction on the pools, the rear pool is heated and is freshwater. The forward pool (the kid's pool) is not heated and is saltwater. The rear pool is actually too warm now and the forward pool is just right. However, I didn't bring my goggles with me to the pool, so I had to limit my time in the saltwater. The captain made an announcement shortly before 5:30pm. He said everyone was on board early and so he was getting ready to leave. We have 177 miles to go to our next port which only requires a speed of around 13 knots. We were schedule to leave at 6pm. By 6pm we had backed out, turned around, and we were moving forward toward our next port. Of course during the short time we were backing up my rear facing balcony became a forward facing balcony. Now, while I wait for the sun to set (we are currently moving directly away from the sun, so I guess we are headed east toward Antigua) I am bringing my spreadsheet up to date, so that I'll have all the information I need for the custom's form in a little over one week. Plus it is a good way to keep track of how much I am spending and make sure my onboard account is correct. Unfortunately the sun set behind an island. But I brought my spreadsheet up to date. I only brought enough clothing for ten days. I bought some shirts (both on land and onboard) but other things need to be cleaned. Got my wash & fold bag today and filled with most of my dirty laundry. As long as in comes back in less than three days I'll be good for the rest of the trip. And I get a slight discount from the coupon book. I guess I was more tired than I thought. After dinner I returned to the cabin, turned on the computer, got distracted and went to sleep. Dinner was good as usual and I slept well. March 3, 2012 -- Antigua Well, I'm up in time to see us approaching Antigua. No good sunrise photos, but there is a beautiful rainbow behind the ship. I'm ready to take a picture just as some lady walking by sees the rainbow. She stops right in front of me, with my camera in hand, and says do you see that? Yes. She is smiling and I'm not. She seems puzzled. So, if you are that lady and wondering why I was not smiling -- it is because you are blocking my shot! Just as we dock the captain gets on the PA system and announces what a beautiful day we are in for. Five minutes later it starts to sprinkle. As is typical for the tropics, it lasts only a few minutes and the rest of the day was very nice indeed. After lots of pictures I head to the Windjammer for breakfast. There is no one in the omelet line but I've had plenty of eggs, so I opt for French toast and waffles. There is a lady in front of me trying to get some French toast. However, she keeps pulling her had away as though the French toast is going to bite her. Finally she makes some mention of the heat lamps. I don't say anything, mostly because I don't want to be rude, but also because this is entertaining. She kept reaching for the French toast that is in the back of the pan. Finally she is fast enough to get her French toast is now it is my turn. I go for the French toast that is in the front of the pan. My hand never gets under the heat lamp. I get my French toast in only one try. I must confess, I sometimes wonder how some of these people manage to earn enough to afford to cruise. Same with flying, is there anyone who can afford to fly that does not understand how to operate a seat belt? Well, the little bit of rain we had does manage to get most things wet. However, as half my balcony is covered, I am able to enjoy my breakfast on the balcony. So now it is time to get ready for my stingray excursion. I was here in 2008 and did this same tour. It is almost as good as Stingray City in Grand Cayman plus they provide more food than the tour operators in Stingray City do. And now my run of little things going wrong pops up again. I have two water wallets. A small one for the ship, when all I need is my room key (I use it to keep the receipts dry -- the room key can get wet with no problems) and a bigger water wallet for off the ship, when I have to carry my room key, photo ID, credit cards and money. Well, the bigger water wallet did not survive the trip. The hinge is broken. Why do they have to make these plastic things out of plastic? I know the store on the ship is closed, but considering how long we are going to be in Antigua, I am wondering if it will open tonight as I'll need a water wallet for tomorrow. Sure enough the store is closed all day today and tomorrow (we are in St. Maarten until after midnight also). Okay, I'll make due with the small water wallet today and go into town after the tour to get a water wallet. I notice that there are about ten or so small kids on the tour. I've been to Stingray City three times and this one once before. The name and the strange shape along with the warning about the tail don't sit well with small children. Even my then nine year old nephew was not willing to get in the water with the stingrays in 2007 in Stingray City, even though his mother was having a great time. Well, the same thing happened here. It didn't matter if Mom or Dad was holding them, one look at those funny shaped things with the long tail swimming in the water and the last place any of those kids wanted to be was in the water, and they were not shy about making that clearly understood. Meanwhile all the adults thought this was great, as did I. Back to the ship and I shower off the saltwater and change into some clothing for shopping. Everywhere I look I see water wallets for sale, except in Antigua. Finally I find one and it does not seem well constructed. I even find one that is broken. However, my options are limited, so I buy the best looking one I can find. This shopping trip did produce one good thing, I found an Internet Cafe offering free Wi-Fi. Well, actually it is a bar and while the Wi-Fi is free, you have to buy a drink ($3.50 for a can of Coke). Since I have been unable to remotely connect on the ship, and since I cannot upload pictures from the ship's computers, this turns out to be a really great deal. Fortunately I have two batteries, one of which is almost double the capacity of the standard battery. I'm able to do everything I wanted at the Internet Bar. Back to the ship for dinner, which I finish really early, giving me time to go back outside and take night time photographs of the ship, which I cannot upload to the Internet because the bar is closed and I still cannot remotely connect via the ship's Internet. However, upon my return to the cabin I see my laundry has been returned. 24 hour service - can't complain about that. The magician is supposed to be something else, so I decide to catch the 9:45pm show. He is good, but magic is magic. Sawing a woman in half is sawing a woman in half, using a sword instead of a saw doesn't really change anything. He only did about half a dozen routines because he spent a lot of time telling us what great people we are. Was he good? Yes, but as I said, magic is magic. Are you more impressed that a colorful bird can fly versus an all black bird? Once you have seen a bird fly, you've seen a bird fly. It doesn't matter that is comes in a different looking package, even if the colorful bird is more impressive. So now its 11pm and I've either been in the sun a lot or I'm really embarrassed when looking at myself in the mirror. So I'm off to bed. See you tomorrow. March 4, 2012 -- St. Maarten We are headed west toward St. Maarten and since I have an aft facing balcony, I can catch the sunrise from my balcony. Its 6am and sunrise is supposed to be around 6:30am. However, someone forgot to tell the sun. No matter, there are clouds on the horizon and that pretty much ruins the sunrise anyway. So I throw on some clothing and head over to the ship's Internet Cafe (I still cannot remotely connect) and update what I can. Then up to deck ten to get pictures of us approaching St. Maarten. I spoke to someone else who is also having trouble remotely connecting to the Internet. Then I grab breakfast (no cheap entertainment this morning) and then go back to the cabin to eat breakfast on my balcony, upload my pictures, back everything up and work on this. What is it with St. Maarten, Orient Beach and rain? Another rain storm on a day that I want to go to Orient Beach? At least I can finish breakfast on my balcony. Then the captain comes on the PA system and says it will be windy, there may be a few more sprinkles but it should be a nice day. My plan is to head over to Orient Beach around noon and return around 5:00pm (the time we were originally scheduled to leave. That will leave me six hours to make it back to the ship (three hours if I want dinner). But first I'll head into the port to see if I can get what I want in one of the local stores. Also, it will give my room steward time to clean the room (if I get the card in the slot with the right side up). And if I find an Internet Cafe great. Otherwise I'll just continue to swear at the ship's Internet and kiss my cable modem when I get home. I did find an Internet Cafe and was able to upload a few pictures and update the Internet. Then back to the cabin to change into my bathing suit, and then it is off to Orient Beach. It doesn't look like rain. But first there is a cruise ship coming in. I can tell from the yellow funnel that it is a Costa ship -- the Costa Luminosa. I get several pictures, and then I head over to the taxi stand. It is $18 for one person to go to Orient Beach. It is also $18 for two ($9.00 each). It is just me, and I'm ready to pay the $18 when five or six Italians show up also wanting to go to Orients Beach. Wow, my fare just went from $18 to $6. I'll have to send a thank you note to Costa. The taxi dropped us off between the clothing optional beach and the top optional beach. For anyone interested, there aren't any twenty somethings running around nude. On the other side I noticed about half the people where topless. Orient Beach was nothing like I expected. Perhaps because of all the wind it was not showing its true beauty. The waves churned up the sand. I found some friendly fish, but the more pictures I took the harder it is to see the fish because of the sand. To kill some time I rented a Wave Runner for half an hour ($60). It was only my third time on a Wave Runner I just went up and down and got a feel for riding a Wave Runner. However, soon I got in between the wrong yellow buoys. I was about a quarter mile from where I should have been. Well, I didn't hit anyone or anything, so no harm no foul. Originally I planned to go back around 5:30pm. However, I decided to join the Italians and go back at 3:30pm (which again cut my fare from $18 to $6). Before heading back to the cabin for a freshwater shower I stopped at the Internet Cafe and asked how long they would be open. I was told they would be open until 5pm. So I came back at 4:30pm with computer in hand and they were closed and all locked up. Okay, back to the ship to see if I can connect to the Internet via the ship's Internet service. Negative. So I went to Guest Relations to see if they could help. They confirmed all my setting were set correctly and suggested I try again later or I could try to use the computers on deck eight. Yes, the computers on deck eight work, but I can't upload pictures from the ship's computers. So I decide to drown my sorrows in a chocolate milkshake at the Ben & Jerry's on the ship. Back at the cabin I get a call that my tour on San Juan has been canceled do to lack of participation. So there is another $96 credit to my onboard account (it was the only tour I was interested in). Now I can see that the Costa ship is getting ready to leave, so I grab my camera and head to deck ten. I get some good pictures of the ship leaving and then head back to cabin to work on this. My timing is pretty good, as dinner is in twenty minutes. Nothing exciting in the Orpheum Theater tonight, some musical comedy, perhaps Rosanne Barr will sing the national anthem again, that was pretty funny, all though I'm not sure you could call that music. After dinner I'll probably come back to the cabin and either rest, play my favorite computer game, sit out on the balcony, get on the Internet for a few minutes, watch something on TV or fall asleep. Of course it is possible I'll do more than one of those things. March 5, 2012 -- St. Thomas Well, last night I did spend a few minutes on the Internet. I also channel surfed the TV. But mostly I just feel asleep. I guess I'm doing the early to bed early to rise routine, 'cause I woke up at 4am. Given the four hour time difference from home, that is about the time I would be going to sleep. At any rate I turn on the TV to see where we are. We are 35 miles from St. Thomas doing just under 18 knots. At this rate we are going to be really early. I go back to sleep and wake up at 6am. Now we are three miles from St. Thomas and just now slowing down. We are going to be early. For the past three ports we have been right on time. This time we are going to be way early. In fact we are cleared to go ashore before 7:30am (we were scheduled to arrive at 8am). As we are coming in off in the distance I see another ship and soon a third ship. We are first into port (if you don't count the two dozen yachts that are here -- must be some sort of a boat show). The Carnival Victory docks behind us and the Adventure of the Seas docks behind the Carnival Victory. The Enchantment of the Seas and the Carnival Victory are both facing forward. So the Adventure of the Seas has to be different and backs in. Just as we reach the dock it starts to rain. So I head back down to my cabin where I can get pictures of the Carnival Victory and the Adventure of the Seas coming into port. And just over the hill I can see the top of another cruise ship. That of course would have to be a Princess ship, as Princess does not dock in the same place as everyone else. Of course with only the top ten feet of the ship visible I cannot tell which Princess ship is in port. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that there are more than 10,000 visitors here today. The rain has stopped, so it should be a nice day, if a bit crowded. My sightseeing tour leaves at 9:15am, about 45 minutes from now. So I'm going to get ready and I'll be back at you later. The sightseeing tour was great. At our first stop we could see St. John and Tortola. I got some pictures and a bottle of cold water. At our next stop we had a great view of the Harbor. I got some great pictures and a bottle of cold water. Our third stop was the top of Crown Mountain, the tallest point on St. Thomas. There I got some good pictures of Magens Bay and a cold banana daiquiri. Then we stopped in town for those that wanted to go shopping and then back to the ship. There is an Internet Cafe in the port area, so I went there next. 45 minutes cost me six dollars. This is about one fourth of what it would cost me on the ship and the connection was faster. On a side note, after two days of no remote access the ship's Wi-Fi is finally working again. I return to the ship, put my computer in the cabin and go back out to do some shopping. I pick up a couple of bottles of two different alcoholic drinks, a shot glass for my friend and a couple of small items for me, then back to the ship. Of course I have to turn the two bottles in, but the person to turn them in to just walked away. I stand there like an idiot until an elevator becomes available and head up to the cabin. I'm not planning to drink in my cabin anyway. But really, how can you enforce a rule when the person responsible for enforcing the rule is AWOL? At any rate it is mid afternoon and I am in danger of melting. So I hop into my bathing suit and head for the pool. I see the Adventure Ocean kids are sitting in the shade eating ice cream. I wonder how many arms the counselors had to twist to get the kids to agree to that activity? After cooling down in the pool it is back to the cabin to change into my casual formal wear (it is formal night). It's just like my formal wear except I've got a Caribbean shirt on instead of a white dress shirt and tie. As I'm working on this I notice the Carnival Victory is getting ready to leave and it is raining again. It raining when the Carnival Victory arrived, it rained when the Carnival Victory left and those are the only two times it rained today. Seems to me someone or something is trying to send the Carnival Victory a message. The captain has just announced that all passengers and crew are aboard, so as soon as he finds the key we will be going. I see that the pilot boat has just returned from the Carnival Victory, so we should be going soon. It is a quarter to six and we are schedule to leave at 6pm. According to the captain, a speed of eight knots should get us into San Juan at 7:00am tomorrow. The Adventure of the Seas leaves just before we do, and I do mean just before. Since the Adventure of the Seas backed in, all it has to do is move out into the channel and head out to sea. Meanwhile we are backing until we are clear of the pier and the captain can spin the ship. Then we two head out to sea. Tonight is our second formal night and I'm going casual formal. First I find a couple of photographers for some portraits and then I head to dinner. I order two shrimp cocktails and one steak. I should have ordered two steaks. It was good, though a bit small. Then it is back to the cabin where I get quite a scare. There is an alien wearing 3D glasses sitting on my couch watching my TV (the glasses are not mine; I don't know where the glasses came from). Well, there is nothing terribly interesting going on, so I get up to date on everything (this, the accounting and my photographs). It is a good thing I upgraded my backup flash drives to 16GB, because I now have over 1700 photographs taking up over 8GB of space. March 6, 2012 -- San Juan We are early into San Juan -- too early. We pass the fort and it is too dark for any good pictures. Soon we make the turn toward the docks in Old San Juan and it looks like the Captain is going to back in. Great, my cabin will be overlooking the city and it will be facing north, so it will not heat up. But no, we just sit a while and then head in. Later the captain makes an announcement and explains that he was just waiting for the wind to die down before docking. My tour was canceled do to lack of participation (what, I wasn't good enough?). I looked at the other offerings but none interest me. I did the city tour last time I was here. So I'll just walk around and see how much trouble I can get into. Perhaps I'll find an Internet Cafe and have a little fun. All I did was take a few pictures and buy a few souvenirs. Someone else from this cruise went to Starbucks and posted that the Internet at Starbucks was slower than the ship. I returned to the ship in time to see the HAL Eurodam arrive. After lunch all the sun, heat and humidity over the last five days gotten to me and I took a nice long nap. However, I was up in time to get some picture as we left San Juan. Next stop Baltimore. We are doing 19.2 knots uphill (look at a globe) and based on the information from the Travel channel, we only need to average 16.25 knots. The captain says that we will pick up the pilot at 8:30pm on Friday. We are scheduled to dock at 7am on Saturday. Soon it is time for dinner and my waiter is taking good care of me. I order one shrimp appetizer and he brings two. I order one chicken dinner and he brings me a second one from off the menu (he wanted me to try it). For dessert I cannot decide between two desserts, so I order both. Turns out I missed one important item in the captain's announcement. Apparently the show times were changed. I showed up for the production show at the published time of 10:30 and discovered that the movie War Horse was playing. Apparently my show time had been moved up to 6:30pm. Disappointed I returned to my cabin for some much needed rest. Then I have to get up at 3am so set my clocks back one hour. Why can't we have the time change at a more reasonable time? March 7, 2012 -- Day at Sea I am up in time for sunrise, but once again the horizon is covered by clouds. Sunrise was a big bust. I couldn't decide what I wanted for breakfast, so I finally settled for pancake sandwiches. They are just like regular sandwiches except instead of bread I used pancakes. I had cheese, ham, bacon, salami and of course pancakes. I was planning to have breakfast on my balcony, but that idea literally went flying out the door. Just as I stepped outside I watched as two salami flying saucers took off. I went back inside, replaced my airborne cold cuts and ate inside the Windjammer. The one good thing about the forward Windjammer location, it has great views over the bow while eating. After breakfast it is time for a shower and since I am running out of clothing, I break into the laundry bag that came back from the cleaners a few days ago and put away my now nice clean fresh clothing. Assuming that we don't hit an iceberg, I should be good until I get home. After updating my onboard accounting spreadsheet I decide to celebrate the $396 OBC I got by attempting to upload some more pictures to the Internet. Apparently even these one third sized pictures (I have to keep the pictures small so that they will upload in a reasonable amount of time) are being well received by those that read my posts. There is an announcement that they are going to stage a crew only fire drill. A few minutes later we hear Bravo, Bravo, Bravo (the code for fire). The announcement includes a zone number and it is repeated that this is a drill for the crew only. Personally I think that if they want to make it realistic, they should have the passengers run around yelling and screaming (in other words, acting normally). After that I head out of the cabin to give the room steward time to clean. Apparently he is not part of the fire drill. First I head to the Internet Cafe to actually post the pictures (I only uploaded the photos from my computer, I did not post them). Then to the store to see if there is anything new (there is not). Then I decide to search for one of the passengers. I first saw him at embarkation. He was greeting all the shore side staff, so I assumed he worked for Royal Caribbean. However, as I saw him walk around the ship I realized that he was one of the passengers. Nonetheless, he knows everyone. Finally I overheard one of the crew members ask him how his birthday party was. He said what a great time he had and that the captain was there. At the past guest reception it was announced that they were recognizing an Elite couple who had the second most points on this cruise. Why the couple with the second most points? As a side note, apparently out of the millions of C&A members, only about 140 have made it to the Elite level. At any rate I began to put together the puzzle pieces. This might be a very famous passenger that I have heard about. So I decided to hunt him down. I found him by the pool, saying hello to one of the crew members. I asked him if he was a famous passenger that I had heard about and he replied, "Guilty as charged". His name is Jack, he is from Canada, this is his 152nd cruise, he cruises once per month, so he has been cruising for about thirteen years (as have I, but I am only averaging 1.5 cruises per year) and he knows all the crew members and Captains on all the ships. We talked briefly. It was nice meeting him. I went back to my cabin, but the room steward was still working in the cabin, so I walked around deck five (the promenade deck) a bit, then headed up to the Viking Crown Lounge to enjoy the view for a while. While up there I suddenly noticed that EVERYONE was getting up from their pool side lounge chairs. There is only one thing that could make everyone leave their poolside lounge chairs at the same time -- it's raining. So I head back to the cabin to update this. Last time I checked we had four to eight foot seas. Right now they are showing that stupid forward view cam which is showing lots of water drops, so I can't get the current information which is far more interesting than watching water drops slide down a glass window. At any rate the ship is rolling enough that it is hard to walk straight, except for the drunks, they are having no trouble walking straight (HA HA). I was really challenged this morning as I was walking in the hallway and one of the crew was bringing a tray full of food to one of the cabins. That was someone I definitely did not want to accidentally bump into. Well, the captain just made his noon time announcement. The closest land is about 3.4 miles away; however it is covered by 18,071 feet of water. The closest dry land is Grand Turk, about 195 miles away. We are 377 miles from San Juan and 1004 miles from Baltimore. We need to average 15.3 knots to be on time to pick up the pilot. We are currently going about 19 knots in an effort to put this wind behind us. Our starboard is being hit by thirteen foot waves which are expected to increase to eighteen feet by tonight. The air temperature is 77 degrees and the sea temperature is 81 degrees, which is the same as the pool temperature (which is being hit by my estimate of twelve to fifteen inch waves). Things are starting to really rock and roll. A drawer opened all by itself. I had to lock my sliding door to keep it from opening. Every once in a while we get hit by a really big wave and the entire ship shakes. So I decide the best thing to do is take some ginger, lie down and watch the Green Lantern on TV. Having seen it for free on the TV I am glad I didn't pay good money to see it in the movie theater. The captain made another announcement at 6pm. There are 40 MPH winds coming from the east. Current sea conditions are twelve to fifteen foot waves reaching fifteen to eighteen feet at night. We can expect rough seas until around noon tomorrow. I've been taking ginger and knew the dangers of working on the computer while the room is moving. Motion sickness is caused by a conflict between the ears and eyes. While I am inside my eyes do not detect motion while my ears do. Looking at a computer screen on a rolling ship is like trying to read in a car. And sure enough, for the first time in nineteen cruises I got seasick. It was mild; I took some ginger, laid down and rested until dinner. At dinner I went heavy on the bread, two main courses of noodles and steak and no appetizer or dessert. After dinner I went back to my cabin and watched a little TV and then went to sleep. March 8, 2012 -- Day at Sea Good morning. I don't see any fish swimming past my bed, so I assume we survived. Last night was not as bad as I expected. This morning's sunrise would have been perfect if the clouds were not on the horizon. The cloud cover overhead was perfect for a picture perfect sunrise. On some cruises I get great sunrise pictures and some, like this one, I don't. I'm going to take it easy this morning, as this afternoon I have been invited to two C&A events plus the Captain's Corner is this afternoon, right after one of the C&A events (which means I should be able to get a prime seat). Hopefully today I'll be able to edit this and start picking out the pictures to include with my review once I get home and publish it. However, I have to be careful or I'll get seasick again (and yes, I have already taken some ginger). On the way back to the cabin from breakfast I saw Jack. I told him the bad weather was his fault, as the weather had been good until he told me how great it was. Five minutes later it started raining and the wind picked up. We had a good laugh after that. I then went back to the cabin, grabbed my computer and went to the Internet Cafe to pick out pictures to post and give my cabin steward time to do his thing. At 9:30am I went up to the pool deck to check out the shirt sale. The two dozen people around the table were not as intimidating as the three dozen people in line to pay. I don't mine a few accidental elbows to the ribs, but I'm not standing in line for half an hour afterwards. So I sit down at one of the tables by the pool, in the shade and work on this. Yes, the sky has cleared up, the wind has died down, and it is looking like it is going to be a nice day. I've returned to my cabin as it is hard to see the screen in the bright daylight. I finished picking out over half the pictures I'll be posting when the captain made his noontime announcement. We have sailed 782 nautical miles from San Juan and we have 599 nautical miles to go to reach Baltimore. We have to average 13.9 knots to be on time. The reason for the slow speed is that he was going faster then needed yesterday to put the strong winds behind us. We are experiencing eight to ten foot seas now and he expects that to drop to five to eight feet tonight. There is over three miles of water below the ship. Currently the weather is great and on my way to lunch I noticed the pool deck and the pool were full. In a few minutes I get to meet the stars (a Q&A with the singers and dancers of the production shows which is a special C&A event). Then after that is the Captain's Corner. So, I'll see you later. I just got back from the Captain's Corner. I asked the captain if there is an estimate as to when the engine would be repaired. He explained there are four engines turning generators which create the electricity that the ship runs on. Those four engines are working fine. However, the port side propulsion engine is only able to develop 70% of its maximum torque. As a result the ship cannot reach full speed. Thus, when traveling as fast as it can (under current conditions) some people will see a difference in the size of the wake from each propeller. There is an estimate as to when the repairs will be made, but it is not official yet, so he would not tell us what the estimate is. I also asked the hotel director if someone misses the ship, would they go into the safe to get the passport to leave with Royal Caribbean's port representative. He said no, there is too much liability if they did that. There were a couple of strange questions. One was from a lady asking why the beds were made up all the time??? That is what the room stewards are supposed to do. She goes on to explain her question. For a moment there I thought she was going to say she got out of bed to go to the bathroom and when she got back the bed was made. But no, her complaint was that the bed was not turned down at night. Another complaint came from a gentleman who was unhappy that his brand of sugar (the one that comes in the yellow colored packet) was often missing from his sugar bowl, so he (I hope you are sitting down for this) had to ask for it (OMG!). However, he turned this rather simple question into the most complicated question I have ever heard. In fact at one point the hotel director had to ask him what was the question? This must have been a two minute exercise. From my point of view, asking the waiter or waitress or his or her assistant for the sugar should take less than ten seconds, meaning he spend more time complaining about the issue than it should have taken to ask for the yellow packet twelve times. Really, how do some of these people survive at home? Pulling the sheets down so you can get into bed and having to asks for your favorite sugar are such big problems that you have to voice your concern in front of 500 -- 600 people? The show stopper came with the question about the lack of chocolates on the pillows at night. Apparently the company saved $1,000,000 by cutting out the mints and the hotel director pointed out that people sleeping on the chocolates were ruining the pillow cases. That is when the cruise director chimed in and said, "That wasn't chocolate." I wish I had a picture of the face the captain made upon hearing that. After the Q&A I spoke to the cruise director regarding the missed production show because of the schedule change. He said the printer made a mistake and that there were several announcements about the schedule change. Okay, but I didn't hear any of them. No matter, it didn't ruin the cruise. After the Captain's Corner I returned to the cabin to work on this and to pick out the pictures for posting with my review. Tonight is our third formal night, and I have a special guest party to attend prior to dinner, so it is time to get ready for tonight. At the "Top Tier" event (platinum and above) the hotel director gave a brief talk about the history of Royal Caribbean International (RCI). RCI controls about 25% of the cruise market. While no names were mentioned, there is a bigger cruise line that controls 50% of the cruise market. Tomorrow at 2pm the cruise director will give a more detailed history of RCI. It should be interesting, so I plan to attend. There are about 2,200 passengers on this cruise, few of which are children. The last cruise had over 500 children, as will the next cruise. Three of the passengers are Elite, about 50 are Diamond Plus, 200 are Diamond, 80 are Emerald and 300 are Platinum. The loyalty ambassador made a big deal over the raffle we had for a bottle of Champaign. So after the event I suggested that she should have raffled off the ice sculpture also. She didn't get the joke. Oh well, I've had jokes flop before. That is why I'm not giving up my day job. I had a light dinner, one appetizer, one main course and one dessert. I gave my WOW card to my waiter. My thinking went like this. My room steward it great, but basically is just doing his job. Maryna went above and beyond, but I only spoke to her twice. My waiter is not only doing a great job, but is going above and beyond, so I gave him the WOW card. He was very appreciative. I'll give my room steward an extra tip and write a letter to Royal Caribbean to let them know how great the others and the rest of the crew were. After dinner I found a picture that was taken of me on the pool deck. The main reason I wanted it was because I was wearing my favorite cruise shirt. It shows a picture of a deer in a forest. Most of the trees have arrows in them. It says vegetarian, an Indian word meaning lousy hunter. Then back to the cabin to finish picking out the pictures for posting. Tomorrow I'll prepare the pictures for posting (cropping where needed and reducing the picture size from sixteen million pixels down to about eight hundred thousand pixels (a typical monitor can only display about two million pixels). So until tomorrow -- good night. March 9, 2012 -- Day at Sea Once again sunrise was a bust. The horizon was blanketed with clouds while there were almost no clouds overhead. So, I update this and then get ready for breakfast. After breakfast I'll return to the cabin to work on my pictures and charge the computer's battery. Then I'll leave the cabin with my computer to continue editing the pictures so that the cabin steward can do his job in peace. After that we will see where my whim takes me. Wow, how fortunes change. At 6am I was looking at a clear sky while waiting for the sun to rise. It is now 9am and there is no sky in the clouds. It is raining pretty hard, hard enough in fact that no matter which direction I look, all I see is water and clouds. Currently the captain and the hotel manager are having a cake decorating contest. The hotel manager is doing much better than the captain, yet for some reason the captain is getting more votes. There is quite a crowd and all seem to be having fun watching. This is all going on in the Centrum. I'm in the Internet Cafe which is on deck eight just off the Centrum editing my pictures. I stop by the store again. The shirts that were not sold yesterday are on sale for the same price today, without the crowd. I find two that I want. After the captain's noon announcement there is an International Parade of Flags. Each country that has a crew member on board has its flag represented. After that I grab lunch. Soon it is time for the multimedia presentation of Royal Caribbean the early years (from 1968 to 1998). Basically it covers the formation of Royal Caribbean through the building the six Vision class ships (it ends prior to the building of the Voyager class ships). It is actually quite interesting. After that unfortunately I have to return to the cabin and pack and fill out the customs form. This is where the spreadsheet comes in handy. It makes filling out the customs form a lot easier. Next I organize things. I'll finish packing after dinner. Packing to go home is a lot easier than packing to go on vacation. All I have to do is take everything and throw it in the suit cases. When I'm packing at home I use a check list to make sure I don't forget anything. At 6pm I went to the photo shop to pick up my Cruise in Review DVD. I note there is a sunset with color, so I rush back to the cabin, drop off the DVD and grab my camera. I got some half decent pictures. I'm sure that if I was twenty minutes earlier there would have been more color. At any rate while I was outside I noticed two things. One, we are no longer in the tropics. It is less than 54 degrees outside (about twenty degrees cooler than the last ten days). The second thing was that a Coast Guard helicopter flew over us. My first though was, what is a helicopter doing all the way out here? Then I remembered that the captain mentioned in his noon time announcement that we were 32 miles from Cape Hatteras, so I guess we are well within the range of a helicopter. We are supposed to pick up the pilot today at 8:30pm (I do not mean the pilot of the helicopter). Soon it is time for dinner. I order one shrimp cocktail and one steak. My waiter recommends two shrimp cocktails. Good idea, so I order two. When the steak comes not only is it a good size, it is the second best steak I've had this cruise (the one in Chops was the best). So when my waiter asks if I want anything else, I order another steak. It was just as big (probably about ten ounces) and just as good. There is Key Lime pie for dessert. I ask what color it is. My waiters says it is white. I tell him if it is green it is fake (not really Key Lime) and if it is yellow it is real Key Lime. He thinks it is yellow. I decide to take a chance and order the Key Lime pie. It was yellow. My waiter also brought a second desert for me. I don't know what it was, but after one taste I decided it was too sweet for me. So, back to the cabin, update this and edit more pictures. Then, since I have to get up early tomorrow (to find a good hiding place where they will not find me until after 4pm) it is good night folks. March 10, 2012 -- Debarkation I wake up very early and while lying in bed suddenly notice that the cabin is lit up by something resembling a headlight. After realizing where I am I decide to check it out. It is just a very bright stationary light on a bridge. I check out the travel channel, do the math and quickly figure out that we are going to be early. When I wake up again I decide to get up and look out the window to see what is up. My first thought is that the ship passed very close to a buoy. However, I know we are moving and that buoy is not getting further away. I soon figure out there is a boat following us. I decide to get out my camera, go outside and take a picture. It is a tug boat. Eventually I notice an orange glow toward the east. It is looking like a great sunrise except for one very important missing item, there are no clouds overhead. We are scheduled to arrive at 7am. At 7am the captain makes the announcement that disembarkation will begin soon for those doing self disembark. So we are docked in Baltimore. The TV says the air temperature is 54 degrees; however the captain says it is 34 degrees. I believe the captain. I can handle 54 degrees with no problem and it feels cold even to me. Otherwise it is going to be a beautiful day (perhaps for those getting ready to sail -- not for those going home). Unfortunately for me, I have about a ten hour wait until my flight leaves. Oh well, better safe than sorry, and besides, I don't have to go to work tomorrow (Sunday) so I don't really care how late I get home. So now it is time to reflect back on a great cruise. Having spent most of my time on newer ships, I can tell this is an older ship. I am not referring to the condition it is in, it looks fine. But rather from a technical side, the TVs are not interactive, some of the public spaces are smaller than on the newer bigger ships, most of the rooms have the older and smaller CRT TVs (I'm in a JS and it does have a bigger LCD TV) and other little issues that don't really subtract from the cruise, but rather catch me by surprise compared to what I am use to. The crew on the other hand had to be the most helpful crew I have ever had the pleasure to sail with. Any problem I had was solved by the person I spoke to. As I said, my room steward, waiter and head waiter were great. And even the people at guest relations were fantastic. I just cannot say enough good things about how helpful the crew was. The cruise itself was great. The only negative is the first and last day which can be a bit chilly. However, that didn't bother me; I chose this cruise because it was twelve nights. The regular itinerary would be something I might try again in the future. As to staying really late in Antigua and St. Maarten, it didn't work out as well as it could have. The problem is that most of the places around the port close down around 5pm. So if the ship only stayed until say 10pm that would work out just a well. Not having to rush back to the ship was a big plus, but we were unable to take full advantage of the late departure. Cruising in February has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that while still hot in the Caribbean, it is not terribly hot like it is when the sun is directly overhead and beating down on you. The disadvantage is that until you get south of Georgia it can be a bit cool. Of course for those that want to avoid the cold all together all they have to do is cruise out of San Juan. It is warm to hot year round once you get that far south. I was a bit concerned about hitting six (scheduled) and five (modified itinerary) ports in a row. But by not trying to do it all at each port I had the chance to do what I wanted and was able to enjoy myself. Well it is 7:35am and the announcement for those that are self debarking has been made. Unfortunately it will soon be my turn. Until then I'm in my cabin editing pictures and updating this. Well, it is 8:15am. My room steward came in to thank me and I thanked him. There was another announcement and I have a feeling they are running a little head of schedule. Fortunately I just finished editing all my pictures. So I just have to finish proofing reading this and I'll be all set for when I get home. Well, I was wrong; they were running about fifteen minutes behind. Nonetheless, once they called my number I just kept walking. There was no line. All customs wanted to see was my declaration. A cab ride to the airport and now I've got a six hour wait until boarding. This is the main reason I bring my computer, to give me something to do for long layovers. In fact the ship will leave before I do. Of course had I booked the earlier flight the ship would have been late and I would have missed my flight. I finally made it home at 11:30pm (PST) on Saturday, March 10, 2012. Of course since I had been running on Eastern Standard Time for the last three days (and an hour earlier for prior nine days) my body thought it was actually 2:30am on Sunday, March 11, 2012, which of course it wasn't, because we are moving our clocks ahead one hour at 2:00am on March 11, 2012. So not only am I dead tired, I loose another hour of sleep to boot. Well, after three hours of sleep I am wide awake because I have been getting up at 6am on the ship for the last two weeks, and my body thinks it is now 6am. I am currently uploading my pictures so that I can post the photographs with my review. From home it takes me less time to upload six full sized photographs than it did to upload one photo from the ship, and those photographs were one third the size of the photographs I'll post with my review. And for those that are interested, I took over 2200 photographs during the two weeks. The full album (I'll add more photographs as time permits) can be found at ... http://community.webshots.com/album/582473910oWTIxI Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I have to give it to RCCL, embarkation and debarkation are so easy in Baltimore. Everything is so organized and smooth. Although the ship is going to be revamped in Dec, it was in pretty good shape. We ate mostly in the Windjammer and ... Read More
I have to give it to RCCL, embarkation and debarkation are so easy in Baltimore. Everything is so organized and smooth. Although the ship is going to be revamped in Dec, it was in pretty good shape. We ate mostly in the Windjammer and the food was pretty good, just not very hot. The specialty stations were very good. I wish RCCH would have more to do during the day and not have all the fun stuff so late at night, karaoke is at 10pm. if you dont want to take ballroom dance class, trivia or play bingo, you pretty much are screwed for daytime activities. We have found it to be the same the last couple of cruises. The one time we managed to get to karaoke the books with the songs, have very little to choose from. The shows were great however you had to go to the theatre an hour before showtime to get a seat. People were almost fighting about saving seats and the RCCL staff member said it will be better after they re=do the ship in Dec...well that did not solve the problem then, and the first show was at 845p, why not make it earlier. If you visit Antigua, do not take the Antiguan Experience for your excursion, what a joke and it was expensive. They took us on a beat up old van to a lady's house that had been there many years and told us about history, drove past the pineapple farm and slowed down to take a picture, did not even stop. the lunch on the beach was okay....this excursion should have been about $19, it was such a disappointment. The cabin staff and bartenders and staff in the restaurants were all great. all in all it was a good cruise Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We had taken 8 previous cruises, but this was the first as a pure Caribbean cruise. With school in session, it was mostly older adults and a few younger parents with a few children under 5 or so. The ship seemed quite full, which led to ... Read More
We had taken 8 previous cruises, but this was the first as a pure Caribbean cruise. With school in session, it was mostly older adults and a few younger parents with a few children under 5 or so. The ship seemed quite full, which led to some problems as I'll mention below. First of all, we had no complaints with the ship's crew. Service was very good in the dining room, Windjammer cafeteria, and in our stateroom. In addition, I found the food generally better than on other cruises. Unlike most chefs, the ones on the Enchantment did not need to over-spice their recipes so you could actually taste the flavor of what they were preparing. Unfortunately, this varies by chef, so you cannot count on this on any future cruise. The Enchantment was extended in 2005 by 73 feet with the addition of 114 staterooms. Unfortunately, they did not add to the size of the Windjammer or to the theater. Thus during breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer, you were subjected to a constant stream of "eat and leave" messages to make room for others. You could ignore these, but it was intrusive. In addition, on sea days, it was impossible to get a seat in the theater for either of the 2 performances without arriving about 45 minutes early - which is not something I wanted to do on a leisurely vacation. On port days, enough people were heat-beat by beach visits so more seats were available for the later shows. This lack of space definitely hurt the cruise experience. For this ship RCI should consider 3 evening performances on sea days at 6:30, 8:30 and 10:30 pm to accommodate all. I always use the fitness center on-board. Generally I found it uncrowded most of the time. They have a large assortment of equipment. I use the recumbent bicycles, but they were generally wearing out - some were inoperative and all could use a tuneup. We found the live entertainment (e.g., the bands that perform in various lounges) weak on this ship. I have generally found such entertainment weaker on RCI than on other cruise lines. Our stateroom was an oceanview cabin on deck 3. The view was good. The room seemed a bit smaller than others we have had, but was sufficient - more than enough drawer and closet space. The ports were what we expected. Most passengers either headed to the nearest beach to bake or to go into town to buy jewelry (cheap junk or otherwise expensive diamonds). Since we like to do neither of these, we found the ports only mildly interesting. Although those who like such activities seemed to enjoy themselves. Embarkation and disembarkation in Baltimore went quite smoothly. It took us about 30 minutes from arrival at the pier until we were on-board. We left ship and were in a taxi leaving the pier within 30 minutes at the end. (We live in Maryland near Baltimore.) In summary, if you like cruises to the Caribbean islands to either buy jewelry or go to the beaches, the cruise was quite satisfying. My major complaint was the overcrowding in the Windjammer and the theater. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
It was a pleasure to sail from Baltimore. We boarded the bus in our community and were at the port in just over an hour. The embarkation process was painless, we were on the ship with about 30 minutes. The Enchantment is an older ship ... Read More
It was a pleasure to sail from Baltimore. We boarded the bus in our community and were at the port in just over an hour. The embarkation process was painless, we were on the ship with about 30 minutes. The Enchantment is an older ship that is heading in for refurbishment next December, however I was pleasantly surprised by the look of most of the ship. The public spaces looked great, highlighted by its impressive Centrum Atrium area. Our balcony cabin was comfortable and a nice size, but could use some sprucing up. I was impressed by the available storage space. Very efficient use of all the nooks and crannies. It has a very nice pool area with plenty of seating and indoor Solarium pool (adults only) is very nice for finding some quiet time to read, etc. I was very impressed with the service an the ship. The cabin stewards and particularly our dining staff were just great. Really the whole staff did there best to provide the level of service you hope for, but don't always get. The only disappointment I had on the cruise was the food in the MDR. Breakfast and lunch were just fine in the Windjammer, but dinners in the Dining Room were mediocre at best. Very bland and unimaginative. Even the desserts, although nice to look at, lacked something. My favorites like creme brulee tasted like instant pudding. Entertainment was first rate. We saw all the shows and were very impressed with the talents of the ships' singers and dancers.The headliners were all good yo excellent. The biggest issue was the lack of seating for the second shows. You had to get in your seats 45 min. early to get a seat. The issue was brought up to the Cruise Director who said they hope to have a fix with the refurb. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the Enchantment. I was expecting a run down ship just waiting for its makeover, instead we enjoyed a lively environment, excellent service and entertainment. If she gets some dining improvements along with her makeover she'll be a a great ship. 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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