We cruised on June 28 to the western Caribbean, the Ship was great but the ports of call left a lot to be desired. I'm not a fan of Mexico. We'll stick with the southern and eastern. The Enchantment of the Seas was a very ... Read More
We cruised on June 28 to the western Caribbean, the Ship was great but the ports of call left a lot to be desired. I'm not a fan of Mexico. We'll stick with the southern and eastern. The Enchantment of the Seas was a very nice and a very clean ship. We stayed on the 7th deck with 52 other cruisers, some seasoned and a few novices. Everyone loved it. Not a complaint out of the bunch. The only thing that people mentioned was the kids getting to wild around the pool, this is an area that is primed for disaster. Kids were jumping from the Hot tub into the pool, no matter who was under them. FoodThe windjammer was always above par where the dining room was just par. The selections could have been better in the dining room. What they did prepare was very good. The service on board was also perfect. Everyone who we came in contact with was always polite and well presented. Shows were so so...Nothing to rave about...Out of three comedians only one was funny....One guy was older than Jack Benny and he's dead. The Cruise Line gave us a free cocktail hour because of the size of our group. They did an excellent job and again service was top notch. The ship was in excellent condition, always well maintained. Won some cash in the casino. Bingo: (what a ship scam) the people like it though. Bar service was great, food at all locations was always hot and fresh. We will again travel on RCI, most likely to the southern Caribbean. Read Less
This was our second family cruise on a Royal Caribbean vessel. Thus, we had not only other cruise lines to compare this cruise to, but also another vessel in the RCCL (Monarch of the Seas) stable. The embarkation procedures are very ... Read More
This was our second family cruise on a Royal Caribbean vessel. Thus, we had not only other cruise lines to compare this cruise to, but also another vessel in the RCCL (Monarch of the Seas) stable. The embarkation procedures are very efficient and getting past the initial phase of signing on and getting your vessel cards went smoothly. However, having to show the card to get past the entrance gate, again less than 100 feet away, and then a third time at the gangway entrance was a bit of overkill. I know they want to be sure that only passengers embark, but not in the space of 100 yards of enclosed access controlled space. I had to get two additional keys so that I would have one to my spouse's cabin and my daughter would have one to our children's' cabin. This is due to RCCL's requirement of an adult on the booking in each room. Made no real sense, as we did not stay in the kids' room at all. As always, watch your use of the card for all purchases that you make on the vessel. If you have a limited budget, it may sneak up on you. They are easy to use and you do not have to carry cash around with you onboard (not even in the casino). We had requested the main dining seating and wanted to be seated with friends we had made on our last cruise. This was accommodated. No complaints about the seating or the location in the dining room. Our dining room waiter was very competent and friendly. He did his best to accomplish all that we asked of him. He lost his normal assistant waiter on the fourth day of the cruise due to illness. This broke down the normal expectations of the assistant waiter knowing everyone's dinner needs that is normally associated with a week long cruise. We actually had to retrain two other assistant waiters to our likes and dislikes concerning drinks, breads, and salads. I realize that this was an unfortunate occurrence (illness), but we should have been assigned one other assistant waiter for the last three days. At one point it appeared our headwaiter would have to serve as our table waiter and the table waiter would have to serve as our assistant waiter. However, at the last moment a replacement assistant waiter was located and pressed into service. Our headwaiter was excellent. He made several appearances at every evening meal. He was personable and seemed to be interested in our well-being and service. The food was good, but it did not compare to the Celebrity Cruise Line's Galaxy. The meals were always served timely and at the correct temperature. We were not rushed by the staff and we were allowed to have leisurely meals. This is greatly appreciated given the pace of the day ashore and rushes of the excursions. We were allowed to try as many different dishes as we wanted. This selection went from appetizers to desserts. The meal selections seemed to be the same as we experienced on last years Monarch cruise. There needed to be additional beef dishes other than steak. Perhaps a meal such as a London broil or the like could be served. Broccoli was ever present. Given that I do not like broccoli, this was somewhat of a minor problem. The midnight buffets were good. On most nights there was not a buffet and you would have to be in the right lounge to be served appetizers from trays. The waiters were excellent. If you asked them to return with a certain choice, they always did. Drinks were good. If you travel with children (under 18) and your children drink a lot of sodas, get the $20.00 drink sticker on their card. If not, you will be paying $1.50 per soda for the whole trip outside the dining room. They also have a card for 12 non-alcoholic drinks for the younger set. This was $24.00. These drinks normally sell for $3.50 each. This is another deal if your child enjoys false pina coladas, daiquiris, and the like. Bar service was good. The shops were limited in their assortment of things to buy. The shop hours, especially the photo gallery, was not sequenced to be convenient to the passengers. When you were at sea all day, you could hit the shipboard shops and see what they had to offer. On port days, they closed too early. The main theater shows were on the whole good. The shows included a comedian/juggler, a male comedian impressionist singer, a female impressionist singer, a female singer, and a comedian in addition to the ships singers and dancers. The ships orchestra was good, but they overpowered the singers at times. The cruise director's jokes were old and tired. If you have been on other cruises, you have heard the questions of first time cruisers on each one of them. Lounge entertainers were good. I guess that you have to have line dancing every night or you just did not do enough to get the cruisers involved. It seemed like it was every night. In any event, you did get to dance with your spouse with each of you making physical contact with each other after the line dancing faded away. Oh yea, country and western dancing is not made up of line dances. Two steps and waltzes are a lot more enjoyable, at least to me. In any event, if you wait in the lounge long enough, they stop the line dancing and get back to basics. The westernquest scavenger hunt was fun. Battle of the sexes was entertaining. The 'name that tune' event was not timed to allow both dinner seatings the chance to play. Given that it took only thirty minutes, it should have been played at least 15 minutes later and everyone could have played. Theme night parties seemed to go over well. EXCURSIONS The number one complaint that I have about the cruise was that there was not enough time allowed for the passengers in the ports of call. Key West, Florida was a zip in and out. We were supposed to be on a scuba excursion that was to leave at 8:30 and take no more than 4 hours (translated into back by 12:30). We waited for twenty minutes at the wharf next to the ship. We were shuttled about five minutes away to the dock to wait another 30 minutes for the scuba diving boat to fuel up and come pick us up. With the vessel leaving at 3:00 p.m. and passengers to be back on board by 2:30, we calculated we had two hours to walk eight blocks to see Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. We bought the tickets for that to do after the scuba tour. When we got back in from the scuba tour it was 2:01 p.m. Throw away $44.00 for the Ripley's museum. There was no problem on the water with the scuba tour, however the tour operator should have had the boat fueled and sitting at our dock ready to go. Key West should not be a port of call. Rating on a scale of 1-10 for Key West....2. I had my scuba mask break a piece that is not in the normal every day save a dive kit. I left a written note for the ships diving coordinator as instructed by an assistant purser. It was not responded to or answered before my next port. Given that we were to be scuba diving in Cozumel the next day, this was not appreciated. I had to go find a dive shop on my own without the help of a person who probably could have helped me with just a note or a personal comment. I had to buy a new mask, as I did not have the time to find a shop that dealt in Oceanic equipment to obtain a piece to repair the mask. The ship then hauled it to Cozumel, Mexico overnight. This should have been a day at sea (there were two days at sea). Cozumel was a good port of call. My son and I went scuba diving. My wife and daughter went horseback riding. Both were excellent. Rating on a scale of 1-10. . . 8. We then traveled to Costa Maya, Mexico. This port is not ready for cruise ships. It had what amounted to a Mexican market that was not fully operational, a salt-water pool, a small beach nearby and a lot of extended travel excursions. Our snorkeling tour was canceled the night before we arrived with the only reason given being the snorkeling sight was a problem. There was very little left to choose from and we were given less than one hour to decide to go on something else (excursion desk hours were restricted). The result was to take the day off and spend 1 hour in the shops ashore and return to the ship. Rating on a scale of 1-10. . . 1. We then spent our first 'day at sea'. This was a short trip between Costa Maya, Mexico and Grand Cayman, BWI. This should have been an overnight transit reaching Grand Cayman the next morning. The day at sea was relaxing, but it would have been better spent between Key West and Cozumel. Grand Cayman was a good stop. We had arranged through personal arrangements to take a scuba tour with DiveTech, Inc. We went to a wall dive and then to Stingray City. It is good that we did make these private arrangements as we were told that over 50 divers applied for the Grand Cayman diving trip arranged by the ship and that a waiting list of over twenty people had to be created. I do not know if they got to dive or not. I would have been really upset if that was part of my reason for making the cruise. We could not pre-book the dive trip via the internet, as RCCL would not respond to inquiries of where the dive trip would go. We wanted to go to Stingray City and make a wall dive. RCCL should have better communication and respond to questions over the internet if they are going to allow you to book excursions online (which they will let you do). Stingray City was really a good dive for my daughter and apparently everyone who went there whether diving or snorkeling. This port was definitely worth the effort. We had a little time to spare and had time to do a little light shopping in Georgetown. The ship put two tenders in the water and had one commercial tender in operation. Great job with these tenders, minimal wait. We were told after we boarded and the night before we arrived at Grand Cayman that the ships excursions would be tendered before anyone else. This created a few moments of discouragement as our 'tour' required first tender travel as well. It worked out that we got on the first tender after medical needs were met. Rating on a scale of 1-10. . . 8. The Saturday at sea is really needed. You relax, pack and get ready to go home. A comedian headed the farewell show up. He was very good. The ship's show was the same version as seen on the Monarch. Good energy, but boring material once you've seen it. I would not take this trip again if the ports were the same. We have been to the southern Caribbean twice and really enjoyed most of the ports. We have been in the eastern Caribbean and enjoyed most of those ports as well. However, when there are only four ports on your trip and two of them are poor at best, go elsewhere. I felt that my cruise dollar should have stretched further. The waiters and cabin attendants were all very good to excellent (except as mentioned above). This ship needs to arrange for two other ports of call (besides Key West and Costa Maya) and it may be worth the trip, but I would not waste my time or money on it again. We were with a family we had met from New Jersey the year before and we had a great time with each other. It pays to have great friends on board. As an aside, we heard that one set of table mates at dinner did not like each other and did not speak to each other all week. If that happens to you, ask the maitre de to change you to another table immediately. They will try to accommodate you if at all possible. Wherever you go, have a great trip.roser@pernet.net July 2001 Read Less
After researching all the cruise boards over the past six months before our first cruise, I thought I would give the first timers a report on how everything went. Family of four with two parents, college grad daughter (21) and HS grad son ... Read More
After researching all the cruise boards over the past six months before our first cruise, I thought I would give the first timers a report on how everything went. Family of four with two parents, college grad daughter (21) and HS grad son (18). Overall, it was a great experience and almost everything was impressive and fun. From service to entertainment the cruise line and crew did an excellent job. Boarding & Arrival We arrived on Sat in Ft Lauderdale which made the whole week start much nicer; bought two six packs of Coke to take aboard and stayed in a hotel that had pick up service from the airport and even delivered us to the port for free (tipped for both but saved on taxi fare). Got to port about 12:45 and left bags on sidewalk; was met inside the building by a very nice older gentleman who quickly checked our paperwork and we were then met by a friendly older woman who also offered to help and gave us some inside info. Then went in to get our cruise cards and that took about 10 minutes; on to the gangway (get photo) and right to our rooms. We met our children at the Windjammer for the brunch they were serving and then explored the ship. Bags were delivered at around 4 PM to our room and around 5:30 to our kids' room. Simple, easy, and relaxing since we had second seating for dinner. Cabin Parents were on 7th deck in Cat D with balcony, refrig and sofa bed. Clean, very adequate, and comfortable. Children on 2nd deck outside cabin. Both cabins had very accommodating attendants who got us ice and took care of towels and any other needs we had. Food We ate every dinner at the late seating and had breakfast lunch and snack in the Windjammer. Dinner food was very good though similar to what you would get at a large company banquet. Windjammer was buffet style with good food that was quite adequate: nothing real fancy but good. Most lunches had a carving station in addition and the waiters were always helpful. Plenty of fruit available to take back to rooms if desired. Wife and kids used room service occasionally and were quite pleased though the service staff seemed to be surprised when they received tips. The fast food in the solarium was not too good (hamburgers) as commented by our son who normally eats anything! Only attended the gala midnight buffet and had minimal food since we were stuffed from dinner. At dinner our waiter was fantastic and was more than accommodating if we asked for more than one appetizer or dessert or whatever. Waiter was Chinese and grew up in Bombay and asst. waiter was from Romania. They definitely made dinner a very enjoyable experience each night and even our kids had a great time with them. Shore excursions We did not use any of the cruise line's excursions and did things on our own. Rented a car in St Maarten to see the beaches and visit Marigot after shopping in Philipsburg. I goofed by reserving a rental prior to cruise because pickup was near the airport (had to pay taxi to/from) and would have been just as easy to rent impromptu near the dock. Visited Long Bay and Mullet Bay beaches and enjoyed both. Marigot ok but nothing spectacular. Mom and daughter went jewelry shopping in Phillipsburg. Would recommend taking the water taxis to/from downtown area from ship dock - one fare for all day. In St Thomas we spent most of the time just shopping in the downtown area. We taxied over to the Marriott beach for some relaxation on the beach. FYI: we bought a lot of jewelry for the two ladies and our best buys were in St Thomas. In Nassau we taxied to beach on Paradise Island, dropped the kids to sunbathe and swim, then my wife and I went into the Atlantis resort to relax and browse. Ate lunch on ship and then shopped downtown. Onboard Entertainment The nightly shows were actually quite good especially their stage productions on two nights. Individual acts were fun though some were a bit cheesy, but in the spirit of being on a cruise, good fun! Newlywed, etc game was quite a hit with all! Cruise director and personnel were quite good at their jobs and very personable. Bingo was worth participating and if you were lucky, the final jackpot was over $10K! (we were not, and that biggie ended up split 3 ways - still a handsome chunk) Disembarkation On Sat night the envelopes with tips can be given to staff. Bags packed and outside room by midnight - no problem. Got up Sun morning and ship was at dock already, ate breakfast and went to appointed deck to await call. Off the ship around 0930, picked up bags in large storage area (easy to find), took taxi to airport and wait for 11:30 flight home. Very simple and efficient. What we did not doWe did not gamble in casino nor eat many meals other than dinner in dining room; no RCL shore excursions; bought only one photo from RCL; not many specialty drinks; Mom and Dad did not go in pool though we sunbathed; no one got seasick or queasy; did not get bored! What would I advise: read through these internet boards to gather selected info before you go; ask friends who have been on a cruise for inside info; buy a book on cruising and your ports to read ahead of time; go in with an open attitude and prepare to have a good time; don't expect gourmet food, but know it will be quite acceptable; and don't be too nitpicky because one can always find something that's not 100% perfect all the time! What went wrong Not much since my only real complaint was that there was this distinct rumbling vibration (like I read about the Enchantment on these boards) in our 7th deck stateroom the entire trip (except in port of course). You could see the flowers I gave my wife as sendoff were constantly in motion while at sea. It was more annoying than making you feel sick. It woke me up each morning a lot earlier than I wanted to awake but I just got used to it. Did not seem to bother my wife as much. Our kids room had no such mechanical vibration so I have no idea what it was - a constant cyclic rumble about every 10 seconds which may have been air conditioner related, who knows. Was not enough to spoil anything though, just irritating having to wake up early on vacation! Overall: we really had a nice, relaxing vacation aboard the Enchantment for the week; treated like special guests and allowed to do what we wanted without pressure. Having wonderful tablemates certainly contributed to the positive outlook on our cruise; they were a very nice young couple who also were out to enjoy their week so we hit it off well, especially our children with them. Cruising is expensive so we can't do this all the time, but we did get our money's worth with RCL. I am sure we will do it again some time in the future. Good luck. Read Less
This is my second cruise and my first on RCCL. My family chose RCL because they were cheaper and had heard so many good things about them. We live in New York and the cruise was out of Fort Lauderdale and went to St. Thomas, St. Maarten ... Read More
This is my second cruise and my first on RCCL. My family chose RCL because they were cheaper and had heard so many good things about them. We live in New York and the cruise was out of Fort Lauderdale and went to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau. We sailed in the second to last week of August 2001. On the day of the cruise we flew from Kennedy Airport to Fort Lauderdale- Hollywood Airport. We arrived at the airport at about 1:00. We met the RCL agent.....well she had a sign that said EOS....we first went to the wrong one because it was the explorer of the seas.....we met the lady and she told us to sit down and fill out our forms...and she got a wheelchair for my grandmother who walks with a cane and was very tired. Filing out the forms occupied most of our time. We finished and got on a little bus. There were too man people so some of them waited for another one to come. We got to the terminal at about 1:45 p.m. When we arrived it looked like everyone was already on the ship. Embarkation was a breeze. There was no one there. We where on the ship within 15 minutes. They man helping us was so nice....but he was trying to persuade my aunt into letting me get a charge card...she kept saying no...he kept saying "u sure???"...i kept saying "please???":( ..........it was funny to me at least.) We then got on our ship and went to our stateroom on Deck 4. (Ocean View with 2 beds and 2 pullmans) We went to the lifeboat drill and it was hot and sticky and muggy... It took such a long time. When I went on the Destiny it did not take as long as this one did. While we where at the lifeboat drill, i noticed i could not spot one single kid besides my cousin and I. I panicked....We went back to the stateroom and we were looking at the t.v. when I realized the ship was moving.....They could have made an announcement, at the least. So we ran to the top deck and I got the camcorder and was filming when I realized I was in the back of the ship....Unlike Carnival it doesn't have the big smokestack to differentiate. The net two days were days at sea. My grand mother and aunt went to bingo and the casino a lot....I went to the teen club...Had lots of fun. On the second sea day, I was in the Viking Crown and we could see the lights of the Explorer of the Seas not too far off, going in the opposite direction.... that was cool. The only problem was that the first thing started at like 10:00 a.m. and each activity had and hour and half in between...The first two days it really bothered me, but after I made friends it didn't. After the two days at sea was St. Maarten.....I woke up expecting to be docked but we where in a holding dock....It was very foggy (dense fog). Had breakfast, met some friends and we went up to the Viking Crown.....We then went to an activity in the Card room....We learned that because of the bad weather, and there was a new dock they would not allow us to dock and that we had no idea how long we would be waiting....But in the distance you could see a Norwegian CL ship. We finally slowly approached the dock.....The scenery was beautiful because you could see trees and hills and mountains and beaches....as I saw the island I started yelling "I see land, I see land" Two days at sea can be real nerve wracking...I had the whole front of the ship yelling "We see land"....It was funny...until it showed up on the video on the last night of the cruise...and everyone turned around at me and was laughing.... We went into town at St. Maarten..not a long taxi ride.....I personally did not like it...The island seemed sleepy and dingy and poor..I guess cause it was raining......We bought some alcohol, magnets and keychains and quickly went back to the ship..... The next day was St. Thomas THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE.....We got off the ship at about 1 p.m. to go to our excursion...little did we know there was a shopping plaza within walking distance of the ship...We went on our excursion which was touring St. Thomas....I really liked it. U got to see wild donkeys and chickens and the homes. We came back and bought jewelry at the markets......and some alcohol again (remind you this was the time when you just showed your sail and sign card...without id and scanning of bags) We boarded the ship at last moment.... The next day was at sea. After that was Nassau.....We got off because we wanted to go snorkeling....We got off and waited about an hour for the guy to come pick us up....My grandmother didn't go...she got off to get a straw hat...but quickly got back on because they were attacking her....but she got her hat :)....We went snorkeling at Stingray City. It was really fun...you got to feed the stingrays with Squid and pet them....My cousin got stung..it was minor he didn't realize it until we were on the plane ride home.... We went shopping at the little street mall of carts...Be aware that they will attack you......We got back on and watched the sail away......While were at Nassau the Majesty of the Seas and a Carnival ship was there...While we where at St. Thomas and Norwegian ship was anchored...and had to be tendered to port....also was the Carnival Paradise. On Embarkation day...We woke up early and got our luggage tags...ate breakfast.....and it took us along time to get off the ship.Complaints- On the first day my grandmothers luggage got lost and was delivered after dinner, while everyone's else's was in their stateroom...... Food was good....We had a table of 8 with my aunt's co-worker, her husband and twin girls.....I personally liked the food at the pizza station better.......baked Alaska and cherries jubilee was superb. On the last night they go around dancing and singing...it was great!!!! The ship was nice....this year were doing Western Caribbean on the Voyager on 8/25/02, I hope next year we can do Carnival Legend from New York.............I still like Carnival better because it has a more party atmosphere and RCL is more elegant....the kids like Carnival and the parents liked RCL better but I do recommend RCL.July 2002 Read Less
Enchantment Of the Seas 12/08/02 Eastern Itinerary 2 Adults, No kids Saturday (Day Before): We flew into Fort Lauderdale the Saturday night before our cruise. I bid $55 on Priceline and lucked into the Embassy Suites hotel. It's a ... Read More
Enchantment Of the Seas 12/08/02 Eastern Itinerary 2 Adults, No kids Saturday (Day Before): We flew into Fort Lauderdale the Saturday night before our cruise. I bid $55 on Priceline and lucked into the Embassy Suites hotel. It's a beautiful hotel! We walked over to a Tex-Mex restaurant next door to the hotel to eat. Ironic, since we're from Texas and all, but it turned out to be a pretty decent meal! There is also an Outback next door, but the wait seemed to be pretty long. Go ahead, slam us... but we also walked across the street to the liquor store and bought a bottle of Skyy Vodka and then stopped at the Publix for a 12 pack of Mtn. Dew and 12 pack of Dr. Pepper as well as a couple of bottles of water. I know so many people bad mouth those who bring on their own drinks, but I'm glad we did, as there was no Mtn. Dew nor Dr. Pepper on the ship. And being as we were in the height of the Norwalk Virus hysteria, I wanted a couple of bottles of water I could keep in my bag, not knowing how long it would take us to get in to our cabin. Embarkation Day: We woke up pretty early Sunday morning. Who can sleep? We're going on a cruise! The hotel has a free shuttle to take you to the port but the first available spot for us was 1:15. After waiting 8 l-o-n-g months there was no way I was waiting until 1:15 to see the ship! We loaded up our stuff in a cab and took the short - and cheap -- ride to the Port about 10:15. Honestly, the terminal where Enchantment was docked was chaos. All the people on the cruise before us were there, trying to get cabs, busses, etc. We just wanted on! We parked our extensive luggage collection outside the big warehouse area with another couple who were on the same cruise as us. We tipped a porter who told us he would make sure it got inside. Then we started thinking that wasn't such a good idea so the men stayed behind to watch the luggage while my new friend and I went inside. I headed for the suite line since we had a Cat. C - which I guess is still considered a mini-suite on Enchantment. About 11 am, RCI reps started going around checking cruise documents. About 11:30 they opened the X-ray machines up and we headed in. After taking our 1st picture (the first of many I was soon to learn) we walked up to the window. The woman congratulated us for filling out the embarkation forms on-line. She just had us sign them and after giving her our credit card # we were on our way! Finally, We're On Board! We were so surprised at how beautiful the Centrum area was. It was decorated for Christmas and there was a little jazz combo playing. Not really sure what to do next, we got on an elevator and just kind of followed some other people out to the pool area. Everyone kept saying our cabin wouldn't be ready yet, but the curiosity was killing me so I went to go see for myself. And I'm glad I did. It was ready! Our Cabin: We had cabin #8034... mid-ship, port side with a balcony. Yes, the first timers splurged. Now, I guess we'll ALWAYS have to have a balcony! I was stunned at the amount of space there was. I had brought one of those over the door shoe hanger thingies. It was handy, but we could have done without it. There were two "medicine" type cabinets in the bathroom with shelves. There was a set of drawers and some cubbyholes across the hall from the closet. The closet was huge, and had another set of drawers inside of it. There were two sets of drawers on either side of a lighted desk/vanity area, as well as another set of shelves with doors. There were also drawers in the nightstands on either side of the bed. Our cabin steward Perfecto came in and introduced himself... explained how he would be coming in twice a day and showed us how to use the safe and the little "do not disturb" card in the door. He had stacked up some soft drinks and pricy bottled water on the shelf by our refrigerator, but had left it empty inside which was perfect for us, since we had brought our own drinks. Perfecto kept our ice bucket full of fresh ice day and night. I had read many complaints on the message boards about the fridge not keeping stuff cold. We must have been lucky because ours was very cold! I must confess, when I sat down on the bed that day, I thought it was kind of hard. But I guess we were so tired every night we never noticed it. Although our cabin was under the pool area, we never heard any sound that kept us awake. There was the occasional deck chair being moved but that was during the day. Just a little ways down the hall, you could hear the bubbling of the hot tubs above. I thought it was kind of weird that was just about where the "suites" were. I don't know if you could hear it in the cabins themselves, but it was loud in the hall. The Food: After unpacking, we walked around the ship for a while, finally making our way to the Windjammer. We had a really nice lunch. I stuck to salad, but John had a little bit of everything. We ate at the Windjammer several times during our cruise for breakfast. The few times we ate lunch, we got pizza or hamburgers from the Solarium Grill. We had late seating for dinner. I initially thought we'd want more time in the ports, so that's why I chose that dinnertime. In retrospect, we were always on the ship well before departure time, so we could have easily eaten early. In fact, I kind of wished we had. By the time we finished dinner each night, we were so tired we only wanted to go to bed! Our table in the Our Fair Lady dining room was on the first floor, right in front of the piano. It was funny, it seemed like a place of honor! Our waiter was Wally from Thailand and our assistant waiter was this incredibly sweet girl named Lucy. Our tablemates included a group of 4 women from Wisconsin and a couple from Los Angeles. 2 of the Wisconsin women were so seasick though, we didn't even see them until the last few nights of the cruise. The food was really good. I wouldn't say it was great, but it was wonderful to have such a variety of choices... and of course it was food we don't eat every night. Hands down I think everyone's favorite was the Filet Mignon. I also enjoyed the soups they had every night. On lobster night my fiancE ordered a NY Strip with his lobster and thought he was a king! The desert not to be missed was the Royal Chocolate cake. Make sure you get a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it. It was amazing! We didn't really have a meal served in room service. The first full day (sea day) we ordered a couple of pieces of pie to the room... we also ordered orange juice and tomato juice in the mornings to enjoy with our vodka on the balcony. Some of our tablemates did say they ordered breakfast, and it arrived on time and was very good. The night of the midnight chocolate buffet we fixed our plates in the dining room then headed back to our cabin and ordered in two cartons of milk. We needed it with all that chocolate! The Ports: Our first stop was Puerto Rico. We took the Bacardi Rum Tour. I totally would not recommend it. We ended up standing in a hot, crowded terminal at the dock forever. Then our guides seemed to be confused about which bus to put us on. Then we took a long drive to the Bacardi factory. After touring wineries in Napa Valley, we thought we'd get to see how rum was made. Not so. You first sit in a covered area drinking your two complimentary rum drinks, waiting for them to call your group. You get on a tram that takes you to the distillery where there are some bottles set up in little display cases. A man comes in and tells you about all of the different kinds of liquor Bacardi makes, then takes you down something like 5 flights of stairs. They begrudging let some older people in our group use the elevator. Another man pointed to some photos showing how the rum is made, then you get back on the tram to go to a museum of sorts with lots of old photos. Then you walk out of the museum room by way of the bottling area. The day we were there, there was no bottling going on. Just people standing around. Then back to the covered area to wait for your group to be called to board the bus. Not impressive at all! And by the way, fermenting rum kind of stinks! (In my humble opinion of course.) If you're stopping in Puerto Rico, take a trip to the Fort or something. Next stop was St. Maarten. Enchantment and a Carnival ship docked, while the NCL ship tendered in. There's a really nice new dock in St. Maarten, but it's a long walk. You actually take water taxis to get to St. Phillipsburg proper. Once arriving in St. Phillipsburg, we were assaulted by timeshare salespeople and taxi cab drivers. Just be prepared with a "no thanks" and keep going! We walked around the town, bought a few t-shirts and some jewelry and headed back to the ship. In retrospect, I wish we had been brave enough to rent a cab and head over to the other side of the island. I think being new to the whole thing, we were a little anxious just going off on our own. Now, I wouldn't hesitate to do that. We had lunch on the ship then went back to pick up a ring we had sized. It wasn't ready yet, so we stopped in at Every'ting Cool for a drink. That is a great place! It wasn't very sunny, so we opted to pass on the beach, but you can rent a couple of chairs and an umbrella for $10. Drinks were about $6 but they were huge frozen things... much bigger than you could get on the ship. If you're looking for a no frills beach excursion, this one definitely fits the bill. There are changing rooms, lockers, restrooms, jet skis, banana boat rides and the whole beach scene... and it's all just a short walk from where the water taxis let you off. The next morning we woke up at 6:45 to clear customs for St. Thomas. Stupid procedure but well worth it. St. Thomas was by far our favorite stop. We took a ship-excursion on a catamaran out to Buck Island to snorkel. Just the sail on the catamaran was amazing and the snorkeling was wonderful. The tour ended about 1 pm and so we headed back to the ship to change and eat, then went back out to shop and sightsee. I know we will return to St. Thomas for a vacation sometime soon. Last stop, Nassau. We watched them unload an elderly woman into an ambulance from our ship. We have no idea what was wrong with her. They took her luggage too, so I guess she didn't return. Since they wanted to get her off first, we didn't get to get off the ship until 11:45. We first explored the shops and such near the straw market. We took our purchases back to the ship and ate lunch, then headed over to Paradise Island. We asked about taking a water taxi and the RCI person on the dock said we'd be better in a taxi. So we paid $4 per person and went to Atlantis. The place is monstrous and beautiful. We opted to pass on paying the extra fee to take the "tour," and instead just saw how far we could get on our own. We saw most of the hotel, played in the casino and had a cocktail in a cute little bar. Atlantis just about takes over Paradise Island. Since it was so overcast, we didn't even try to go out on the beach, but it was right there between Comfort Suites and Atlantis. There were beach chairs for rent as well as the usual beach amenities. Packing Up and Disembarking: Fortunately, I heeded the advice someone on the message board gave me and took along a practically empty suitcase. We needed it when it came time to pack up our stuff! We packed most of our stuff up before dinner that night - the last formal night. Before dinner we headed over to the casino for about an hour. Since we won big on Roulette, we decided to splurge with a bottle of wine at dinner! Lovely way to spend our last night. We handed out our envelopes and said our goodbyes. I was so saddened to see so many empty seats in the dining room that night. In fact, the Wisconsin 4some at our table didn't even show up. I hope they did in some way manage to tip our wonderful waiters. I've read about people not eating in the dining room the final night to avoid dealing with the tip issue. That is so tacky. That night it was pretty loud in the hallways, as the crew came by and collected luggage. It finally quieted down about 1 am. The next morning we were up by 6:45 (that time change got us!). Since we had 11:30 am flights, we were in the 2nd group called to leave the ship. It was actually a little anti-climatic I thought. We got a cab really quickly and were on our way to the airport all in less than 30 minutes. A Few Extra Tidbits: The first day on the ship, we took a brief spa tour. If you book your spa appointments after the tour, they threw in a little extra something for free. I had a heavenly seaweed wrap and massage. John had a facial and mini-massage. We both loved our treatments. After adding in the tip, our spa bill was $320. It was a great way to start our cruise. Although the spa ran specials throughout the cruise, none of them included the treatments we had, so we had no regrets. We had a little situation with the blow dryer. I had brought my own, as well as my curling iron and an extension cord. I plugged the extension cord in on the plug in the vanity area and turned on my curling iron to heat up. I also plugged in my blow dryer to begin drying my hair. A few minutes later the smoke alarm went off in our cabin! Needless to say, I put my extension cord and blow dryer away, and for the rest of the cruise I used only "their" dryer. It took a little longer to dry my hair but there were no more smoke alarm scares! We only saw one night of entertainment... a juggler who was pretty funny and a stand-up comic who was not funny. We also did TV trivia one night before dinner. We teamed up with two couples from New York and came in 2nd place! We'll covet our lovely Royal Caribbean key chains! I think the whole late seating thing threw off our time clocks and we just couldn't stay up late after dinner. Next cruise we'll definitely do early seating to gauge the difference. Our Impressions: We loved our ship and are so glad we chose RCI and Enchantment for our first. We were so shocked with the captain told us you could fit two Enchantments inside the Voyager! Enchantment was a perfect size for us. Our cabin was in a perfect spot... giving us the opportunity to take the stairs quite often. The crew was so friendly and attended to our every need. I've got to admit though, we ran into some not so friendly passengers. Many senior citizens who didn't mind running you over to get to their table, elevator, deck chair, whatever without so much as an "excuse me." Maybe that's just the Southerner in me. Maybe it was the time of the year. I know we'll take another cruise eventually. Maybe we'll try another cruise line or maybe we'll start making our way up the Crown and Anchor ladder and stick with RCI or Celebrity. But I know no future trip will ever compare with our first one. annreeder1@yahoo.com March 2003 Read Less
Pre-Cruise The bus trip from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale should go down in history as the bus ride from Hell. The bus pulled in to Ft. Myers 1 ½ hours late, and between the mosquitoes, the heat and the humidity everyone became ... Read More
Pre-Cruise The bus trip from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale should go down in history as the bus ride from Hell. The bus pulled in to Ft. Myers 1 ½ hours late, and between the mosquitoes, the heat and the humidity everyone became somewhat short-tempered. We took off for our next pickup point (although no passengers were there) at Naples, Florida, only 30 minutes away, and stayed for a half hour because it was a scheduled rest stop. Finally, off to the East Coast to catch the boat. We were within five minutes from Port Everglades in Lauderdale when our bus driver, suddenly and without announcement, decided to veer south on US 95 to the Miami docks at Dodge Island. Another hour was shot while we searched for the proper berth and unloaded passengers. Finally we reached the docks in Ft. Lauderdale, where our bus driver seemed incapable of following the plainly marked directions to berth 18 where the Enchantment was docked. He made numerous U-turns in the middle of traffic, and many of us thought he would just walk off the bus and abandon the passengers to their own devices. Our driver dumped our baggage off at the curb, where stevedores (paid $24/hr.) would not load our baggage without a tip. We decided the cruise would be great, since anything that could happen to us from here on in would be an improvement. Embarkation: This was very impressive. Not only were there enough people at the sign-up desks, but they were pleasant, multilingual and helpful. Accommodations We were two adults and two children (15 and 11) with adjoining cabins. Everything was clean, and the steward was well trained and professional. Food Meals were attractively served, and overall food quality was good. The head chef was Austrian, however, and his attempts at jambalaya and lobster tail fell short of the rest of the offerings. No particular meal was outstanding, although everything was good. Nobody could have gone hungry on this cruise. The pastry offerings were excellent, but that's the Austrian influence again. Food service was skilled, unobtrusive and masterfully professional. Ports of Call We stopped at St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau. While these ports of themselves are unimpressive to the seasoned traveler, the kids enjoyed themselves. Since this was a vacation to mark the end of summer and the imminent start of school, we felt that if the kids were happy, we were happy. Shore Excursions We rented cars instead of taking the tours. The tours seemed overpriced for what they provided and we were able to duplicate the tours offered for a fraction of the price and we were able to proceed at our own pace. For one or two people, perhaps the shore excursion is the way to go, but with four or more, definitely consider renting a car or hiring a taxi with guide for the day. Entertainment Surprisingly good, and much better than we expected. It wasn't Las Vegas, but only Las Vegas is Las Vegas, except if it's New York. Passengers International assortment of high caliber people, and every one we met was considerate and great company, reminding us that the art of conversation was not dead. Overall This was a cruise well worth the money for a week of fun in the sun. Definitely superior to comparable Carnival Line cruises, and we definitely would elect to cruise with Royal Caribbean again.velvela@aol.comAugust 2001 Read Less
My daughter and I sailed on the Enchantment of the Seas is Aug. 2002. It was our first cruise on the Enchantment but our 7th cruise with Royal Caribbean. You just can't beat their service and value for your vacation dollar. ... Read More
My daughter and I sailed on the Enchantment of the Seas is Aug. 2002. It was our first cruise on the Enchantment but our 7th cruise with Royal Caribbean. You just can't beat their service and value for your vacation dollar. Pre-cruise We rented a car and drove down from Georgia the day before. A 7+ hour drive, due to heavy rainstorms and lots of traffic on I-95. It was my hope to stay in a hotel that would allow me to see the ships in port. We got a great rate online for the Marriott Marina. I had heard many good things about Embassy Suites, and it did look nice, but I was pleased that I chose Marriott. This hotel is located directly on the intercoastal waterway, the port was just beyond the bridge. I woke up early (around 6am) and sure enough, there they were. It was just beginning to get light and three ships (all lit up like Christmas trees) were easily visible from my balcony on the 9th floor as they sailed in from the Atlantic. I had called the hotel a few days before with my request of a view of the port, and they were more than happy to comply. Embarkation Couldn't have been easier. We arrived at the terminal early and were directed to an area to sit and wait to be called. We noticed a sign that said that Crown & Anchor members (Platinum and Diamond level) would have priority boarding (how nice)! so we went to sit in that area. A RCCL rep came by checked our tickets, id, and the online embarkation forms that we filled out beforehand. He has just returned from his vacation on the Enchantment and couldn't say enough good things about it. After a short delay due to a metal detector malfunction we were checked in (the agent was thrilled with the online embarkation form) had our picture taken and were onboard walking around shortly after 11am. The Ship Absolutely beautiful. The Centrum is spectacular, all glass and sunlight. Very tastefully appointed. Our cabin was located on level 2, aft. No problems with noise or vibration. Snug but well laid out. Plenty of storage space. No problem even with two girls who brought enough clothes for a month. Hair dryer and safe provided. Food & Dining Room Service My Fair Lady Dining Room is very impressive with dark wood and large windows. Wonderful service (as I have come to expect nothing less with RCCL). Our waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter went above the call of duty to make every meal a memorable one. I was particularly pleased that they requested no hats, tank tops and sleeveless T's at any time (although I presume this was directed primarily at the men, I wore a blouse over my halter tops during breakfast and lunch). And no shorts at night. They also requested that you wear a bathing suit cover-up even in the Windjammer cafe. If you want to dress that casually there are plenty of other dining options available to you. Food was excellent as always. Our waiter had no problem bringing 2nd entrees to anyone that requested it. If fact, I think he was rather surprised when I told him one lobster tail would be enough for me! Entertainment A nice mix of Broadway style production shows and singers, comedians, juggling acts, magicians and The Nelsons (yes, Ricky Nelson's twin sons) who would have made their daddy proud. Very impressed with cruise director Marc Walker. Very funny, energetic British fellow who seemed to be everywhere, all the time. Don't miss the "Village People" and "Shippendales" ladies! He also did a fabulous job with "Love & Marriage" (game similar to the "Newlywed Game") always a lot of laughs. Cruise director and staff seemed to be very proud of the Enchantment's reputation of being the friendliest ship in the fleet. I am inclined to agree. Ports of Call San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas and Nassau. Loved Old San Juan, enjoyed walking the narrow streets. Very friendly people, and courteous drivers. Easy walking distance from pier. Waking up to see St. Martin with it's mountains, turquoise water and white beaches was quite breathtaking. St. Thomas might have been even more beautiful. Great shopping in both St. Martin and St. Thomas. Wished I had bought my liquor in St. Thomas, your customs allowance in much greater on liquor bought there. Live and learn. Got a taxi and went to Sapphire beach in St. Thomas. About $8 per person. Beautiful beach and resort that welcomes cruise ship passengers. Bathroom, bar, restaurant, and any kind of water sport equipment available for a very reasonable charge. Went snorkeling right off the beach ($5 an hour for fins and mask) and saw as many fish as I've seen in the keys or the Bahamas. Spectacular! Disembarkation We really enjoyed our many extra perks of being Platinum Crown & Anchor members. We were given priority boarding, coupons, complimentary robes for our use onboard and two parties just for Crown and Anchor members. We were allowed to wait to disembark the ship in the Crown & Anchor study until our colored tags were called. Disembarkation seemed well organized and went smoothly. Final thoughts A wonderful cruise experience. Beautiful ship, enchanting ports of call, and a top notch staff that attends to your every want and need. Highly recommended.Charmie17@aol.comSeptember 2002 Read Less
December 17th -24th 2000 Overview: I booked this cruise over a year ago. We decided to go with a group of friends so there were quite a few of us (36 in all). We knew four of the families and then I booked 4 additional families ... Read More
December 17th -24th 2000 Overview: I booked this cruise over a year ago. We decided to go with a group of friends so there were quite a few of us (36 in all). We knew four of the families and then I booked 4 additional families through postings on the Internet. This was our second cruise (first was Monarch of the Seas in 5/00). It was the first cruise for our kids, 2 boys ages 9 and 12. Overall we had a great time in spite of bad weather and disappointment of a missed port. Pre cruise: We flew from Philadelphia to Ft. Lauderdale non-stop the day before the cruise. We stayed at the Marriott's Spring Hill Suite Hotel. The rooms were $80 per night and included transportation from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the pier. One note though you need to sign up for transportation to the pier at the front desk. So if there is a specific time you wish to go to the pier make sure you sign up when you check in to the hotel. (we recommend you get on the ship as soon as possible). The hotel itself was very nice for the price. There was a small pool and it was close to shopping, the airport and the port. Our group had lot of friends and family in the Ft. Lauderdale area and a member of our group suggested instead of going out to dinner, we host a party at our hotel . The hotel manager let us use the breakfast room to serve dinner. We ordered chicken and ribs from Tony Roma's. It turned out to be a wonderful relaxing evening a great start to a wonderful week. Day 1 Fort Lauderdale: We took the 10:30 am shuttle to the port. When we arrived at port I was surprised to see another RCCL ship across from the Enchantment. Apparently the Sovereign of the Seas had lost all power and could not make it back to her home port and was towed to Port Everglades. Processing was quick and easy and we were on board by 11:30 am. Our cabin was not quite ready but we were able to leave our carry ons in the closet while we went to explore the ship. Enchantment really is a beautiful ship. (Nicer physically than the Monarch.) There are lots of windows, artwork and woodwork. We went and checked out the kids area and sign our kids up for the kids program. We had our walkie talkies with us and one of our boys without our knowing it lost one in the ball pit. Later, when he finally told us he had lost it, we went back to the kids area and the kids had fun diving into the pit of ball in search of our walkie talkie. Thank goodness it was turned on or we may never have found it! We then went to the pool bar and got the kids coke cards. That was by far the best deal of the cruise. The total was $24.50 (including 15% tip) for each card. The card allowed the kids to get as many fountain drinks as they wanted throughout the week. This included Shirley Temples. Needless to say they had a blast walking up to any bar on the ship and ordering "a drink." After getting the coke cards and drinks for the parents we went to the Windjammer for lunch. There was always a decent selection of sandwiches, hot entree, salads and deserts. They always had lemonade, fruit punch, iced tea and hot coffee available. The food was buffet quality, some of the salads were interesting but nothing truly notable. After lunch we continued our tour of the ship. The Viking Crown lounge was definitely our favorite. Great view, nice decor and usually quiet up until the disco opened around 10:30 p.m. The pool was very nice a section was cordoned off for small kids and there was plenty of room. There are 4 whirlpools and you could always find room to squeeze in. The Solarium pool was beautiful! The lounges were a bit nicer and the atmosphere a bit subdued. A great area for adults to get away. The one thing we could not figure out, if the Solarium is for adults only why put the pizza, hot dog and hamburger stand inside the Solarium? After lunch we went back to our cabin to unpack. We were in cabin #7048 a category D balcony. There was a sofa bed for the kids and a queen bed for us. The cabin is nicely laid out with lot of nooks and crannies to store things. The closet and drawers were sufficient to store all our things even though I had seriously over packed. The balcony had 3 chairs and a small table. Before we left there was much discussion as to whether you could open up the partitions between the balconies. The answer is yes but if you run into the high seas we did you may not want to (more about that later). Dinner the first night was casual. We had 20 people in our group of friends. Ten adults and 10 boys. We had 2 tables right next to each other. We put the kids at one and the adults at the other. The kids waiter John was unbelievable. He had them served and off to the kids program by 7pm. Royal Caribbean has a nice kids menu with plenty of choices. Of course our youngest ate mostly hamburgers, pizza and chicken nuggets. Our oldest enjoyed both the kids menu and the adults menu. Many times he ordered from both menus. John even cut his steak! One of the nice things about RCCL's menu is that every night they offer a la cart entrees like steak or chicken in addition to their regular choices. This meant that if my son who loved steak could not find anything on the adult menu he could almost always have a steak. Our waiter Leslie was also very good but not as attentive as John. I am allergic to rosemary (a favorite of RCCL chefs). It took Leslie a few nights to figure out that if the potatoes were garnished with rosemary I could not eat it. In contrast on the Monarch I only had to tell our waiter once and then he would make sure that everything I ordered did not contain rosemary. The show the first night was kind of boring. The entertainer Jan Downs who did impressions was okay. The only impression she should stay away from is herself. Off to bed we had a big day planned for Key West. Around 10:30pm we heard a loud noise outside our balcony. A Helicopter was hover right next to us. Unfortunately a passenger had taken seriously ill and needed to be airlifted off. It was quite an impressive site. First they lowered a man on to our ship and then a basket. They then pulled the basket on to the helicopter. We thought they would soon take off but apparently that was the ill persons family. They then lowered a stretcher and lifted the passenger onto the helicopter and finally the coast guard person was hoisted back on to the helicopter. The whole operation took about a half hour all the time while we were still moving. It was very impressive. We all noted that the passenger was lucky he was still in US waters. Day 2 Key West: Thanks to the Millennium (a Celebrity cruise liner), the Enchantment now tenders into Key West. We had booked our own kayak excursion and were concerned that we would not get into port on time. We were told we should get down to deck one by 7:45 so we could sneak on to the first tender. It turned out that it was not a problem and they very graciously let us on the first tender even though we did not have tickets (they were reserved for the ship's excursions). It was obvious that they had not tendered into Key West before because they had trouble finding the dock. Even with the mistakes we were at the dock by 8:15 and met Angela from Island Kayak http://islandkayakkeywest.com/tours.htm Angela drove us to the Fairfield Inn where the kayaks were ready to go. After some brief instructions we set out for a wonderful 3 ½ hour tour. My husband and older son each had their own kayak. I was with our 9 year old. We set off across a bay with strong winds against us. Once we cleared the area it was much easier to paddle. Angela showed us lots of neat things. We saw jelly fish, many birds, flowers and fish. She took us through mangrove trees and at times it was so narrow we had to take apart our paddle in order to maneuver through. My son and I kind of fought each other as we paddled and got stuck in the mud a lot. Needless to say my husband got a lot of good laughs out of our trip. In the end I was exhausted and needed to be towed for a while. I would absolutely recommend this excursion. We passed the ships excursion and there were a lot of people in their group. With Angela it was just our family of four. After we were done we changed our clothes and Angela drove us to the Southernmost point of the United States for photos and then dropped us off in town for some shopping. We bought some color changing T-shirts at Del Sol and headed back to the ship. Key West is definitely a place we would like to spend more time. The ship's itinerary was questionable, however. We needed to get back to the ship by 2:15, which precludes you from really exploring the island. In general, we thought the times on the Monarch were much better: even though it had many more stops at ports, the length of time available in each port was much better. Dinner that night was formal. We went early to get a nice family portrait. When we were on the Monarch in May we did the Wine and Dine Program. This time we just ordered wine by the bottle. Since we were with a group we ordered a bottle of red and white each night and just took turns ordering. The show tonight was Herb Reed and the Platters. We had seen then on the Monarch and were again impressed with their show. It was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time. Day 3 Cozumel: This is what we had been waiting for, snorkeling. We took everyone's recommendation and went to Chankanaab National Park. The park was wonderful lots of lounge chairs and easy access to snorkeling. The park charges $10 admission (per person) and the cab ride cost $10. each way (everything in Cozumel is negotiated in US$). Since this was the kids first time. We started out from the kids lagoon which was accessible from the beach. After we snorkeled for a bit I saw a man with a professional looking camera. He asked me if I wanted my picture taken I said not of me but my kids. He took a fantastic picture of our kids surrounded by fish. Little did we know at the time but this would be their one and only time snorkeling on the trip. We did get stung several times by sea lice (little baby jelly fish). It was not too painful but a little unnerving. After about an hour and a half of snorkeling I told my son that I was getting tired but in fact I had a looked around and noticed that the water was getting rough and the sky was turning dark. I didn't want him to panic. We headed for shore just at the waves started crashing. At the park there are rock steps at the edge of the beach to get in and out of the water. We really got banged around a bit getting out. I would love to go back someday. We loved the snorkeling, there were tons of fish and coral even though the water was rough. It must be beautiful when it is calm. We changed and had a nice lunch at the park walked around a bit then headed into town for some shopping. The park includes a very nice archeological exhibit as well as a fern trail. We did both in 60 - 90 minutes. There is also dolphin swims, a viewing reef and restaurants / concessions (including a place to purchase the underwater picture (which we did for $8 each). I bought 3 copies and they gave me the negative. Cozumel had the best shopping of our trip. My son wanted an onyx chess set and we set out to find one. When he finally spotted one that caught his eye. we started bargaining. It started out at $60 when we said it was for our son the price steadily lowered to $35. I whispered to my son that we would say were are going to think about it. As soon as we started to leave the store the clerk immediately say $25. Of course we bought it. After we left the store my son had a shocked look on his face and said he was concerned that we had cheated them. After we explained that this is the way you shop in Cozumel he wondered if he could shop this way at home! We bought a few other things and headed back to the ship. We missed dinner and ate at the Windjammer. I had noticed that on the menu in the dining room they were having jerk flank steak. I had had it on the Monarch and really enjoyed it. I decided to skip Windjammer and eat in our cabin. In our cabin they had the dining room menu available for room service so I ordered my jerk flank steak and ate while watching a movie. Room service was relatively quick and the food was still hot. They served the flank steak with mashed yams that were laced with the jerk seasoning. Needless to say there was none left. Most of our group did not want to go to the show so they stayed in the card room and played games while we went to the show. This night it was time for the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers to shine. The productions was called Sweet Dreams. It was wonderful. The lead male singer was fabulous and the production was well done. After the show we went back to check on everyone only to find out that our oldest son had gotten a little queasy (sea sick). Our friends gave him some bonine and he was doing much better. We called it a night and hoped for calmer seas tomorrow our first day at sea. Now on to the discussion about balcony partitions. There was nothing to keep the partition open and all night long it banged against the cabin wall. The chairs were not heavy enough to keep it from moving. It made so much noise, we had to call the Purser's desk and have someone re-latch the balcony. That was the end of our wide open balconies! To the ship's credit, they came out at midnight to fix the partitions. We did not want to go through another night of constant banging. Day 4 Day at Sea: Today was wonderful. Even though it was almost too windy to read a book on deck and there was no sun we had a great time. We ate a leisurely breakfast in the dining room. They have great lox and bagels! We did a little shopping the stores on the ship. Ate some more, lounged wasted a day and loved it! A member of our group had arranged for all of us to tour the bridge. Frank one of the first officers gave us a wonderful tour. It really is amazing the technology they have available. We weren't allowed in the engine room but Frank showed us the camera view of it. There was no charge for a Bridge tour just ask at the Purser's desk. Soon it was time for dinner. Tonight was the Captain's Favorites I wish I had gotten a menu because I can't remember what was served. By now we had learned not to take our waiters suggestions. Any steak we had was wonderful. I usually ordered two appetizers. The salads were always good and deserts are my favorite. I had a Grand Marnier SoufflE that was wonderful. Tonight's show was fantastic. Today we insisted the kids join us and they were not disappointed. La Raf was performing. They are magicians and illusionists. There was lots of pomp and circumstance. They even did one trick in the middle of the audience. It was the one where they tie one of them up and put him in a locked box lift a curtain and change places. They did it really fast. We were all in awe. Off to bed we think we have a day in Grand Cayman planned! Day 5 Grand Cayman (not really): We get up early so we can get on the first tender. We are scheduled to meet a representative from Captain Marvin for their See and Sea tour. After we wake up we wonder why we are still moving. Shouldn't we be anchored? We head out for a quick breakfast in the Windjammer. After breakfast we get our things together to meet our group in the card room. Our cabin steward suggests that we might not be going to Grand Cayman but we would have to wait for the Captains announcement. Well here comes the disappointment of the week! The Captain announces that because of the bad weather the government of Grand Cayman has closed the port. The option of their other port is also not available as the seas are just too high. Everyone took it in stride. The staff quickly put together a revised day at sea program. I headed out for a second breakfast (hadn't yet had Eggs Benedict). The kids headed up to the kids program to see what they had planned for the day. We all saw movies. I saw Keeping The Faith and my husband and kids saw Mission Impossible II. We played more bingo and overall had a wonderful relaxing day. Tonight was the first night of Hanukkah. They were surprised how many people showed up for the candle lighting service. They had a Rabbi from the Washington DC area who was very nice. They even had gelt and dreidels for the kids as well as potato latkes. The entertainment that evening was the Wave Review Production of Flashback featuring Roloff. Yet again another enjoyable and entertaining show. Later that night they had the Newlywed-not so Newlywed Game. Not to be missed. We could not stop laughing and we were very glad we were not up there. Side note: Reasons not to complain about missing a port: Someone else always has it worse. We heard about a couple that were scheduled to get married in Grand Cayman. Their family was waiting for them on the island. They were married in Jamaica instead. Also another family was taking their second Western Caribbean cruise unfortunately for them this was the second time they missed Grand Cayman. I think I'll fly there next time I want to visit. Day 6 Ocho Rios: Our entire group decided to do a tour of Ocho Rios with Peat Taylor. Peat had come highly recommended by many posters in www.cruisecritic.com. As promised he met us a the pier. There were 36 of us in all and he had 2 busses. The other driver Trev was also very nice and he kept telling us no problem what every you want. We headed out to Dunn's River Falls to beat the crowd. Even though the weather wasn't the best it was a blast climbing the falls. Our guide was very nice. I didn't think I could climb the falls. I had fallen a few years ago and ruined both my ankles. After about half way I decided to give it a try. Thanks to our guide I was able to climb it just fine. It was quite a blast. The kids wanted to do it again. After reading some of the posts, we were a little concerned regarding safety and theft. This was no problem at all -- you should feel comfortable in just being a tourist in Jamaica. We headed back to the busses and Peat and Trev took us on a ride to Fern Gully. We stopped for a bit while Peat pointed out some of the native plants. Afterwards we decided to head into town for some shopping. They left us off next to Sonies Plaza. The shops were okay nothing great. We went into the market place across the street for some wood carvings. The merchants were very aggressive and our kids were a bit intimidated. Once we explained that this was just their culture they started to enjoy the bargaining atmosphere. We had lunch at he Mango Cafe next to Sonies Plaza I had a wonderful Jerk Chicken the kids had pizza (which was excellent). We thought about heading to the beach but the weather didn't cooperate so we just headed back to the ship. Since we weren't in Peat's bus but I was the one that had made the arrangements through Peat he called and asked how we liked his tour. I would definitely recommend using Peat Taylor. They were very flexible and determined to make sure we had a wonderful time in Jamaica. You can reach Peat at 876-975-0028 or fax him at 876-975-0208. In our opinion, Jamaica is not a world class port stop -- its a very poor country as was clearly evident when we drove around. Some of the local art / crafts were interesting (the kids got some wood carvings), but really, after Dunn's River Falls, there's not much to do there. Dinner tonight was again formal. They served lobster tails and Filet Mignon. Both were outstanding. The appetizer of choice tonight was Escargot. They were the best I ever had! The desert was also notable. The Enchantment of the Seas cake, chocolate with hazelnut a real delight! The headliners The Diamonds could not get on the ship in Grand Cayman so they had a holiday show (we skipped it). I ended up a little queasy I'm not sure if it was the rough seas, 12 escargot, or 4 glasses of wine. Unfortunately I missed the men in our group doing Karaoke. Day 7 Last day at Sea: Today was the day of the big bingo jackpot. $10,312! Another $30 down the drain but the kids had fun. I had been packing our bags through out the week so I didn't miss much. We went shopping again and got some nice T-shirts 2 Seiko watches (great watch sale). We got our tips together and headed out to the pool for a swim. It was cloudy all week so none of us had a tan. The bright side is that we saved years of wrinkles from our skin! There is always a bright side. Our kids caught the end of the Farewell show and then made sure they saw it in the cabin later. The staff was wonderful. Before dinner, we arranged a group photo shot which turned out really well. Also, we posed for yet another family photo -- we bought champagne from the champagne bar downstairs as we waited in line -- photos in luxury. Dinner was great as usual. We over tipped our waiters and assistant waiters. Our group met in the Viking Crown Lounge for one last drink together. I bought the RCCL Drink book, it makes a very nice souvenir it was $9.95 and included a drink. Day 8 Debarkation: We ate a nice breakfast in the dining room and got our things together and headed for the Centrum to wait for our tags to be called. Baggage claim was its usual mess -- but was made much better since we tied poke-a-dot ribbon to the tops of all our suitcases. (nothing's worse than coming down to baggage claim to see 9000 black bags laid out in front of you). We were driving up to Boca Raton to visit my Dad so we got off the ship first thing. It poured in Ft. Lauderdale so we got soaked getting our car. The Avis bus picked us up right at the pier. Unfortunately the bus driver did not wait for my husband to get on the bus before it left. The good news is that he had to circle around and we were able to get him to stop and let my husband on. Make sure you book a large car -- our luggage failed to fit in the initial car Avis tried to give us. Noteworthy Our cabin steward Ula from Jamaica was wonderful. Our 9 year old loves tootsie rolls. I knew he wouldn't like the mints they put on you pillows so I brought some mini tootsie rolls with me. I showed Ula where I hid them and she made sure they were on his pillow every night. He did eventually figure out where they came from but I had him convinced that RCCL really knew how to impress their guests. Also when we were in Jamaica I had forgotten to get change in Jamaican money for the kids. Ula was able to find some in her cabin for us. She did beautiful pillow arrangements everyday and did a great job of keeping our cabin neat even though we are slobs. Balcony cabin: It was really nice having a balcony especially since we had so many days at sea, but I don't know if it was necessary. We had gotten the balcony for a really good price. I would probably splurge in Alaska but unless the price is right I would go back to just a window. You are in your cabin so little. Cruise Staff: Everyone was warm and friendly. Never did we encounter a staff member with a bad attitude. Paul Rutter the Cruise Director was wonderful. Diego (not sure of title) was also great. Captain Per Arne Kjonso on the other hand could use some lightening up. He only made announcements at designated times. I enjoyed the Captain of the Monarch's unscheduled announcements more. He pointed out islands we were passing and gave updates on location and weather. Speaking of weather, every night there would be a note with our pillow telling us the next days weather. Strangely enough it was always supposed to be 84 degrees. (they never tell you about the 25 mph winds though). I think it came close only in Jamaica. Having said this, we felt that the service on the Monarch was a step better than what we observed aboard the Enchantment. Examples of on the Enchantment that we would never see on the Monarch: empty water glasses, tables that had empty food trays, empty clean towel baskets at the second level of the pool. There was no drop off, however, in the number of waiters trying to sell drinks throughout the ship. Cruising with children: We were lucky in that there were 8 other kids that we knew real well so our guys were constantly entertained. We recommend bringing the walkie talkies. Our boys really enjoyed the independence of walking around the ship themselves. Most nights when we were in the show or at a lounge, the boys would hole up in one of the cabin rooms and watch TV (lots of kids movies / cartoons), play games (chess, cards, scrabble, monopoly) and order room service for fries or cookies (bring lots of 2 dollar bills they are great for room service tips). We felt surprisingly safe. (and we are not the type to let our kids wander the neighborhood here at home -- we tend to be more conservative than most other parents). Generally, the kids had a great time and we were able to spend enough "alone time" with the grown ups that we never felt cabin fever or over dosed on kids. Would we cruise again? I would definitely cruise again however I would not place as much emphasis on the ports of call. I really wanted to get to Grand Cayman and was very disappointed when we did not. Realizing what I now know, if a port is that important to you, you should just fly there and spend a few days or a week. Cruising is a wonderful relaxing vacation it is not a mode of transportation. Would we cruise again on RCCL? Yes. However, some in our group thought the cruise wasn't as kid oriented as other cruise lines. Examples: The kids program closed periodically throughout the day; video games required coins to play (should have been free to kids). Also, the food was generally very good, but inconsistent Example: the Vichyssoise soup was down right poor, while the other chilled soups were excellent; some entrees and deserts were spectacular, others average. RCCL is clearly a mass market line and while it has all the physical amenities you could think of, this is not a high end cruise line. However, given the price, we doubt there's better value for the money available. And cruising on a very large ship may not be for everyone. We never felt things were overcrowded (for example, we could usually find pool deck chairs), but the fact remains that there were lots of people (and you meet all kinds) and we oft times forgot where such and such a lounge was located. Would we cruise this itinerary (western Caribbean)? Probably not. Too many days at sea and the ports that we did go to weren't as good as the ports in the Southern Caribbean. Key West was nice, but we weren't there for long enough. Cozumel was nice, but we were the last ship to arrive (out of 6) and that meant that things were crowded. Jamaica I could do without. Also two out of four ports you need to tender into port. We find this inconvenient since it limits your ability to get on / off the ship during the port visit and also limits time in port. The tender in from Key West took an hour from the time we waited in line to the time we were physically on the ship. Post Cruise Miami: After visiting my Dad in Boca we headed down to Miami. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn Miami Airport South. We had free Marriott rewards so that limited our choices. The hotel was great because it was attached to a Courtyard and a Marriott. Our room overlooked the pool and breakfast was included. On Christmas Day we went to Everglades National Park. If you have never been you are really missing out. Two years ago we went to the Shark Valley entrance and really enjoyed it. There is a tram ride that is narrated by a park ranger. We loved it so much we decided we had to go further into the Everglades. We were not disappointed. We entered the main entrance and worked our way down to the bottom. Royal Palm had great views of the birds and alligators. The landscape changes dramatically by the time you hit the bottom by Florida bay. The weather was iffy and we decided not to take the tour boat ride on the bay. We just walked around and had lunch at Flamingo Lodge. They had a wonderful gift shop where we bought some great prints of the birds we loved. After a long day we headed back to Miami and had dinner in our room. The next day we went to the Miami Seaquarium. They had lot of wonderful shows and we got a chance to identify some of the fish we snorkeled with in Cozumel. Our favorite shows included the Flipper show and the Killer Whale and Dolphin show. We went to South Beach (including the obligatory walk on the sand and hunt for shells) for dinner and ate at Wok and Roll on Collins Avenue near 12th street. The food was fantastic and the service was incredible. They were so attentive. Our last day of vacation. The kids swam it the pool for the last time and we headed back to Ft. Lauderdale. We ate lunch at the Ugly Tuna in the Las Olas shopping area. The food was good but our kids were more interested in the draw bridge. On the way back to the airport we stopped for some oranges and juice. Time to go back to Philly and await the big snow storm! Back to reality!!!!! Feel free to ask any questions my email address is dswolfson@yahoo.com01/08/01 Read Less
We sailed from December 17-December 24 on the Enchantment of the Sea. My husband and I are 43 and our son is 17 and our daughter is 13. This is a rather lengthy review so be prepared to sit here for a while! This was our first cruise ... Read More
We sailed from December 17-December 24 on the Enchantment of the Sea. My husband and I are 43 and our son is 17 and our daughter is 13. This is a rather lengthy review so be prepared to sit here for a while! This was our first cruise and I would like to thank everyone who posted information, questions and reviews on all the message boards because this is where I learned all about cruising. Pre Cruise - I booked our cruise directly from RCCL. I started out with a TA but found that I got a much lower price when I called RCCL myself. In July, I booked 2 cabins, one inside (for the kids) and one outside. We were given our cabins which were on Level 2 (B deck) and in the front of the ship (bow). At first I wasn't to keen on being so low in the ship but as we hit quite a lot of high seas, I was really grateful later! Towards final payment time I tried to get 2 outside rooms together but the price had almost doubled so we didn't bother. So IMHO I think it's best to book early to get a better rate plus get a cabin where you want to be. Night Before - We drove to Ft. Lauderdale from Cape Cod, MA because my husband doesn't like to fly and he likes to take 2 weeks off so he can really enjoy a long vacation. We arrived on Saturday and I had booked the AmeriSuites several months earlier after reading all the good things about this hotel on Cruise Critic's message boards. It's a beautiful hotel about 1/2 mile from Port Everglades and your nights' stay includes a free breakfast, free shuttle to your cruise ship and free parking in their lot, if you drove. I had gotten a price online at their website but found I got a lower rate when I called them direct. Embarkation - About 11:00 am we were dropped off in front of the Enchantment and our luggage was whisked away before we had entered the building! They checked our birth certificates and driver's licenses (we didn't get passports) and then we were told we could board. This took about 10 minutes total and then we were onboard getting our first, of many, photos taken. We entered into the Centrum and as we all stood there with our jaws dropped open, we took in all the beautiful surroundings! It truely is a grand ship. We were then directed to our cabins. Cabins - Our outside cabin #2022 was much bigger and better than what I had envisioned. Everyone said how small the lower cabins are and if you had 4 people in them it certainly would be claustrophobic but for 2 people it was quite comfortable. As for storage space, there was plenty. There were even drawers in the loveseat! The bathroom (head) was roomy too, although our kids bathroom was much smaller than ours. I felt a little claustrophobic in their inside room so I'm glad that we had a window. There cabin #2525 was smaller than our room, too. But the kids enjoyed being "alone," without parents, in their own space. Our luggage hadn't arrived yet so we checked our life jackets and the muster station we had to be at when the muster drill was called. We made our shore excursion plans and headed up to the Windjammer for a buffet lunch. Dining - Muster drill was at 4:30 pm and we set sail for Key West at 5:20 pm and after seeing Fort Lauderdale disappear we headed to the My Fair Lady dining room. We had first seating and sat at a table for 4 in the 2nd level. This is a beautiful eating area. Our only complaint was that we could feel a constant vibration throughout our entire cruise but we got used to it after a few days. Our waiter, Bo, and his assistant, Oana, were wonderful. You really get the royal treatment when dining. Our kids weren't used to this kind of dining so they really enjoyed the extra attention. The food was delicious and we had no complaints. Everything was cooked to our liking. On the other hand, I thought the Windjammer Lounge was so-so, not so great, but the kids loved it! They also liked getting a burger in the solarium. We purchased a drink sticker for each of the kids ($20 plus gratuity) and they could get a soft drink or Shirley Temple at any bar on board. If you ever get the chance to order the Boston Cream Cake, try it..........it's absolutely delicious. We talked about that dessert for days! Entertainment - One word - UNBELIEVABLE - I can't say enough about the shows, the Enchantment of the Sea singers and dancers, the magicians, the female singer/impersonator. Every night there was a show. We've been to Vegas shows and these were all right up there! The magic show of Laraf got a standing ovation and on the night of heavy seas it was amazing that no one lost their footing as they were singing and dancing around the stage. The crew even put on a Christmas show, because one of the bands didn't get on board due to rough seas. Unfortunately, we missed The Platters. We heard that was a great show, too. Our cruise director, Paul Rutter, was entertaining and made all the shows more enjoyable with his quick wit and jokes. Children's Programs - Unfortunately, our kids didn't want to get involved with the kids' clubs but there was a lot of things to do if they had signed up. They have their own clubs, etc. Ports - Key West - Been there, done that! Stayed onboard, by the pool, relaxed and checked out the ship. Cozumel - We docked at the pier and the Costa Atlantica was next to us. As we were all disembarking off the ships, an elderly woman fell into the water, between the Costa Atlantica and the dock!! It took about 5 minutes for one of their officers to jump in with a life preserver. She was very calm about all this but a huge crowd had gathered and finally someone with a boat came over and rescued them. After everyone left we went to our tour. We booked the Oceanview tour and saw all the coral reefs around Cozumel. It was a pretty good tour and when we got off, we went shopping. A word of caution: The vendors are VERY aggressive and if you look them in the eye, they WILL pester and bother you. We just looked straight ahead and didn't make eye contact. We were told ahead of time, by a RCCL person, on where to go for jewelry, etc. Cozumel is the best place to buy gems and diamonds. You can also buy Tanzanite at a great price here. Grand Cayman - Port authorities closed the port to all cruise ships and vessels due to high seas (8-9 ft) breaking against their docks. Since you have to tender in, there was no way we could go in. The captain apologized and said that there was no sense off sticking around so we headed for Jamaica. They revised all the activities for that day and gave away 3 different kinds of mixed drinks all day long (Bloody Marys, Mimosas and something else) The seas were high (10-13 ft) and the boat rocked back and forth the whole day!! Jamaica - This was one island that we planned on NOT seeing due to all of the negative things we've read about it but after they canceled Grand Cayman, we decided to book an excursion to Dunn's River Falls, Prospect Plantation and a short shopping trip. This island is absolutely beautiful! The islanders are very friendly and nice (at least the ones on the tour were). We took a lot of pictures at the Falls, it's breathtaking, and the plantation was very interesting. We saw a guy climb a coconut tree barefoot, and saw how they grew pineapples, sugar cane, different exotic fruits. They stopped at 2 different shopping areas where we bought t-shirts and that famous Blue Mountain coffee. I bought 2 bags and it really is the best coffee I've ever had! Warning - this is another place where the vendors can be very aggressive, just don't stop. Stay with your group and don't wander off. Drugs could be offered to you, so be careful. Misc. Onboard - Every day that we were in a port, most everything was closed. The pools and food areas were open, but that was about it. Once we set sail or had a "sea day" you could do a number of different things. From taking out a book at their library, to checking your e-mail on-line, playing in the casino or having a quiet drink in any of the 9 bars, there was something for everyone. There is bingo, shopping, looking at your photos, gem talks, ice sculpting demo, food design class, belly flop contest, best legs contest and horse races. Or you can simply relax. Motion Sickness - Since I am very likely to get sick from motion, I started taking Bonine the minute I got on board. Even as low as we were in our cabin, I still felt the slight sway of the ship. After the first rough night, everyone in my family started taking Bonine and took it until the next to last day. I had brought one box and had to buy 3 more on the ship but I will never trust another kind of motion sickness pill............this one was great! A lot of people were sick of motion on this cruise. Usually this route is much calmer. Again, I was glad our cabin was at the bottom because the higher up you were, the more motion you felt. SuperCharge Card - I did not like this idea at all! When you board your ship they ask you for a credit card that they can put all your purchases on. This same card was also used as your room key and boarding pass. They don't take cash for ANYTHING other than the casino and arcade. Even your drinks, soda or mixed drinks, are charged to this card, plus gratuity. We didn't want our kids to be able to charge whatever they wanted (candy, gifts, postcards, etc.) to our charge card so they were not allowed to charge with their card. My son put $50 cash on his card and at the end of the cruise got back whatever he didn't spend. Since I didn't want to put my purchases onto my husband's credit card I decided to use one of my own credit cards (we now had 2 accounts). Look at your bill VERY CLOSELY on the last morning. They don't give you a lot of time to dispute your bill if something is wrong. We found out the hard way! The bills are left outside your cabin early in the am. We were up at 6:30 am and the bills were already there. After taking a quick look we found several errors (most being that some things were charged to me that should have been on my husband's card and visa versa) The bill said that we could dispute this between 6 am and 7 am! We had like 15 minutes left to get up to the purser's desk. To make a long, very long, story short, we stood in 6 different lines, waited more than 1 1/2 hours, listened to some VERY angry people (not us) and STILL our problem wasn't fixed. I ended up having an extra $140 on my credit card that should have been on my husbands. By this time, our color was being called to disembark, so we left. By the way, disembarkation was very rapid..........we were off the ship in about 5 minutes! Last Words - We all had a great time and will definitely cruise again with RCCL. They treated us royally (except for that last morning) and the Enchantment is a beautiful ship. The Western Caribbean is a nice destination because we saw some really beautiful islands. If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at kleeann57@hotmail.com Thanks for listening! Happy cruising!01/09/01 Read Less
Enchantment of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
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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