This was my second cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas, the first occurring in October 2013 and this one starting on October 20, 2014, both of them being 4-night cruises to Nassau and Coco Cay. Prior to this most recent trip, I read most of the reviews going back one year, and found myself amused at how different reviewers often had different opinions about both the condition of the ship and the food and services. I am sure this review will continue to differ somewhat from other reviewers, but I will give what I consider to be a fair and open assessment, though I will try to deal with the areas where there has been some disagreement or where problems/issues have been mentioned.
Embarkation: I traveled with a group of 10 gentlemen and we were awarded VIP status since one of them has an “in” with RCCL. Thus, I was literally the second passenger aboard. In general, however, boarding occurs in the order in which you are arrived and are processed, though the VIP folks will jump ahead in line (hence, since we arrived early and had VIP status, we were the first). Lots of people arrive early so they can get on board and, I suppose, get to the Windjammer for lunch or otherwise start the party! It might be a better idea to arrive around 1 PM or so, since by then the in-processing lines will be less and tables in the Windjammer will be opening up.
Room, Cabin Steward and Sewer Like Smells: When booking, I selected the cheapest stateroom with an ocean view. I specifically wanted a cabin in the middle of the ship to minimize the effect of waves should the seas get rough (they did not), thus I ended up with a room on Deck 2 in the middle. I was a little concerned since I had read of “sewer” smells on this deck. Well, I did not initially notice any such smells, but when I paid attention to smells on the second night, I did notice a faint wafting of a sewer-like smell in the hallway near cabin 2580. The rest of the hall on that side of this ship seemed fine and, except for those cabins near 2580, I would have no problem about getting a room on Deck 2 for my next cruise.
I will add that the room descriptions are a bit misleading. Most of the rooms are identified as Large Staterooms. Well, if you check, there are no “small” rooms or “midsized” rooms, which effectively means the “large” rooms are simply the standard-sized rooms, which are actually small! The bed takes up half the room, with the entry way, closet and bathroom taking up most of the rest. There is room for a two-seat couch and desk with several drawers for storage, and that is it. For two adults, it can be tight. I can’t image having more than two in those “large” staterooms however. As others have stated, the showers are tiny. They supply shampoo and bar soap, but no conditioner or lotion, as do most hotels.
One reviewer complained about no ice, but if you ask the room steward for some, they will bring it to you. In my case, on previous cruises I got the soda package, but it is expensive unless you drink lots of soda. This time I brought some cans of soda on board in my checked bag. I asked the room steward for ice for my soft drinks, and twice each day he not only brought in the ice, he would place a can of my soda in the ice bucket to chill it for me. Of course, you tip extra for that service. (There is an ice machine near the Windjammer, so that is an option.)
Food: The subject of food is highly suggestive. I read a report from another person on the very same cruise I was on who had complaints. I really have no complaints. Cruise ship food is what it is. Except for Chops, the food is mass produced for over 3,000 guests and crew members! Maybe 10,000 meals three times a day!
Anyway, probably the first place you will encounter will be the Windjammer Café (WJ) for lunch on embarkation day. The WJ is located at the front of the ship where you will have some excellent ocean views. The staff is there to refill your drinks, take your dirty dishes and clean up when you leave. I found them all to be very friendly and will spend a few minutes talking and joking with you, which is nice. The food is, well, standard buffet food.
For breakfast, they make fresh omelets there for you, but other than that, everything is mass produced. Still, all things considered, the food was tasty and more than edible. For the healthy-minded, they have cereal and lots of fruits. They also have the standard scramble eggs (not too bad, actually), bacon (which I thought was pretty good), waffles (kind of wet from the steam), etc. Again, noting all that great, but nothing all that bad.
For lunch, again the WJ has the standard fare that is mass produced. They have a hamburger and hotdog station. The burgers are ok, and you can load them up with the fixings to make them better. The fries are, well, not so good, but mass produced fries are difficult to pull off. They also have the fruits, desserts, etc. Actually, I don’t remember much of what they served. Nothing special, but nothing all that bad.
I never ate dinner in the WJ, but I did go take a look there late one night. Generally, they serve much of what is offered in the My Fair Lady main dining room (MDR), but in a buffet format. They also have other standard fares, to include the fruits and different desserts. If there is a dish you liked in the MDR and want seconds, chances are you can find it in the WJ.
Regarding the MDR, I only ate dinner there on this trip, never breakfast. My friends and I had a table to ourselves and we got to know our wait staff well. The food was generally very good; again especially considering it was mass produced.
The MDR serves a three course meal: appetizer, main course and dessert. I am a bit picky with what I eat (I don’t enjoy what most people would call gourmet food), so I was not thrilled with the appetizer selection, but my friends were. For me, I chose the shrimp cocktail each night. It was delicious and cold, though I would have enjoyed a few more shrimp! There was always a good selection of main courses, to include salmon, prime rib, various ship and sea food dishes, etc. Everything we had was tasty and no one complained. For dessert, there again was a nice selection each night and, like the other courses, some items changed each night and a few were available several nights or every night. We found most of the desserts very nice, though they have a cobbler which was not tasty at all. I had it last year and forget about it and ordered it again this time, and while edible, I will now remember to never order it again! It was one case where being mass produced made it fail!
Now I will give you all a hint. If you don’t see something on the menu you like, ask your waiter for something else! They will sometimes be able to make something for you that is not on the menu. Also, for dessert, we had our waiter make banana splits. They were delightful. Three scoops of ice cream with a cookie and brownie. It was much better than anything offered on the menu! (Of course, if you ask for extras, add an extra tip for your waiter!)
So, was the food worthy of a 4 or 5-star restaurant? Of course not, but no reasonable person could possibly expect that, other than at Chops. If you are served something you don’t like, tell the waiter and they will get you something else. You are hungry and can’t decide between two things? Tell your waiter to get you both items! (Or go to the WJ later and see if they have it there!) And, finally, I will say that everything that was supposed to be hot was hot, and everything that was supposed to be cold was cold. I don’t understand how anyone could have a reasonable complaint about the food. Again, if you don’t like something, ask for something else!
Other Food and Drink: There is generally a soft-serve ice cream machine outside the WJ on the starboard side. Sometimes they have chocolate and vanilla, and other times it is strawberry and vanilla. Near there they also have an ice machine, and there are cups and machines for tea, water and lemonade. You can also get drinks, snacks, pizza and sometimes sandwiches and other foods inside the Solarium. This place is open late at night when everything else is closed if you are hungry.
Coco Cay: It is a nice place. I went scuba diving and it was nice, but the guide keeps you moving right along so you can’t stay put and explore a single location. They supply all the equipment you will need – mask, fins, tank and regulator with pressure gauge and backup regulator. The water can get a little chilly so taking a rashguard or even a 1/8” top wet suit would be a good idea. There is also a nice snorkeling area, and you can rent gear to go there, or bring your own.
Coco Cay Food: Food at Coca Cay was ok. All the food they serve for lunch is brought over from the main ship on the tenders, so keep that in mind before you complain. The burgers and hotdogs are the same as in the WJ. They also serve some bar-b-que, which really isn’t all that tasty (very bland), but still quite edible.
Please see other reviews for more info about things to do and experience there.
Nassau: I don’t care for Nassau and would rather spend an extra day at Coco Cay rather than go to Nassau. However, I have never gone on an excursion and simply walked around the port area a bit, and I understand others love taking excursions. In my wonderings around the port area, I will say that no one overly hassled me, either at the dock or even at the Straw Market. I mean, lots of people tried to sell me things there, but if you say no they don’t nag you. But in the Straw Market, of course, there are over a hundred sellers and many of them will ask you if you need help or will try to sell you something, so it gets old, even though each vendor is only asking you once. Again, just say no and move on.
Other reviewers have covered Coca Cay pretty well, but I mention the tenders. Unless you are part of an early morning excursion, the wait to get off the boat can be a long one! They have 4 or 5 tenders but with maybe 2,000 people wanting to get off, it can take a while. Either get in line early, or maybe wait a few hours. Once the rush to get off the ship is over, they only run two tenders, and they will wait until the tenders are nearly full before departing. This means that you may have a long wait on board before the tender will depart (departing either the ship or the island). When I was ready to leave the island, I noticed a tender arriving from the ship. I knew it would be a few minutes before the tender would depart, so I waited about 15 minutes before coming back to board the tender to leave, expecting it would be about ready to leave. Nope. While waiting, another tender from the ship arrived, so I thought for sure we would be departing. Nope. Not until the tender was nearly full did we depart. I found the waiting time excessive, especially since we were breathing diesel fumes from the newly arrived tender. Last year, when a tender from the ship arrived, the one waiting on the island would then depart, so I don’t know why they delayed so long this time.
Entertainment: I will defer a discussion on ship’s entertainment to others.
Ship’s Condition and Crew: Regarding the condition of the ship, I think you will have to look hard or you would have to be a perfectionist to find any significant fault with the ship. I found everything to be clean and ship shape. All of the crew members I interacted with were friendly and helpful. My single dealing with customer service on the ship went quite well. There was a small line but it went fast and the girl I dealt with greeted me with a smile and happily broke a large bill so I could leave some extra tips.
Passengers: I do find that in late October there is a mix of people who show up. There are kids of all ages, young adults, married couples and older people. I was really surprised by the number of young children who come on these late October cruises, though perhaps most are foreign visitors.
Conclusion: Overall, the trip was great and I am already looking forward to the next. The only people who might not like the cruise are those who are overly critical or who let things beyond RCCL’s control upset them. I understand that sometimes situations arise that can ruin a cruise (failed A/C, backed up drain, etc), but as a three-time RCL traveler, I can state that the odds of you having a great cruise are pretty high.