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Overall, the cruise was a success. There were some dreadful experiences, as well as some exceptional ones. I will highlight the good and the bad. First, the bad: Do not cruise with Royal Caribbean if you are not completely able-bodied. We cruised with my parents, and my father has difficulty standing and walking for long periods of time. Two weeks before departure, I contacted a Royal Caribbean "Special Needs" person, and requested a wheelchair for embarkation and debarkation. She informed me they would have a manifest with my father's name on it at the pier, and that a wheelchair would be waiting for him. We ended up waiting in the overheated terminal for over an hour and a half for a wheelchair. There was no one at the pier with any list, nor were they able to explain why the wheelchairs were not available. For debarkation, I approached Guest Relations the day before, and was informed to come to the gangway at 8:00 a.m., and that wheelchair assistance would be available at that time. We arrived at 8:00 a.m., only to be informed that we had to wait until our color was called, and that only then would he be assisted off the ship. We were not called until 10:45 a.m. If we had not been wrongly advised that we would be departing the ship at 8:00 a.m., we could have slept a little later and had a leisurely breakfast before making our way down to the gangway at the time our color was called. My husband asked me to paste this in on Royal Caribbean's part pertaining to gambling: "I expect and account for some overdone hype, but they go overboard (no pun intended). With Bingo, the cruise director implored people to spend $50 for a $5000 jackpot game in the morning because the prize "usually" goes then, and would be awarded in an afternoon session only if by chance it was not awarded in the morning. After we paid for our morning cards, and as the game began, the crowd was told that only 50 of 75 numbers would be drawn and that a full card was needed (24 numbers) to win. If you know some probability, you will immediately realize that NOBODY is winning a full card in 50 numbers; it is possible and may have happened once or twice by fluke, but the cruise director said it was "usual." In essence, we all paid $50 for virtually NO chance, at least in my case in reliance on fraudulent information provided to me by the cruise director. As for blackjack, I was not the only one who noticed that far less than 4 out of 13 cards dealt were tens and faces while I was there -- and I was there a lot. I therefore believe (from that circumstantial evidence, not from direct proof) that someone removed tens and face cards (or added low cards) to slant the odds slightly more toward the house. I actually won a little anyway, but I was very lucky." Now, the good: Our dining room staff, Raj (head waiter), Rowan (waiter), and Hugo (assistant waiter) were exceptional. We have been on three cruises, and dine in some of NYC's best restaurants on a regular basis, and these guys were up there with the best. Despite the fact that the cruise was sold out, and the dining room was full every night, they made us feel as if we were the only table they were serving, and were very accommodating and friendly. I can't say enough good things about them. Similarly, the staff in the Windjammer was always there to refill your drink or clean up your table. Similarly, our stateroom attendant, Karen, kept our room spotless, and made the famous towel animals for us each night -- this was a special treat for my parents, who had not experienced that on previous cruises on other lines. We went to Chops one night for dinner. This was also an excellent experience. The meat was some of the best we've had. The guest entertainment was great -- The Platters and Bobby Arvon were amazing entertainers, and we couldn't help but join in the standing ovations. The new additions, especially the suspension bridges, are beautiful, and the bungee trampoline was good fun. But, in my opinion, the ships are just getting too big to really enjoy everything they have to offer, and trying to do all the activities they offer in the limited amount of time available does not leave enough time for relaxation. I suppose that is my fault for trying to join in on everything, but a lot of the activities conflict with one another, too. Minor notes (from Bean's picky hubby again): - The cabins are nothing to write home about, and at least some of them (i.e., ours!) are so close to mechanical stuff that you are shocked out of sleep at 6 a.m. by deafening noise whenever the ship is docking (which was five out of seven nights on this cruise). That's the non-monetary price you pay for getting a good monetary price by not picking your room, I guess. - The shore excursions are too expensive for what you get; in most cases you can actually get the exact same (exact) excursion for a lot less by just going ashore and booking it yourself. - Royal Caribbean nickels and dimes you too much about pennies when you are spending mucho dollars. Example: frequent cruisers get a coupon booklet that is supposedly worth this and that. Well, one coupon was for 10 free minutes of internet ($5 value) -- I had to go three times to get them to credit it. Another was for 25% off a "coffee product." So I bought a latte (almost $4) with hazelnut flavor (50 cents extra) and they tried to take the 25% off the 50 cents for the flavor. We dropped $4000 on this cruise and I didn't give a crap about the difference of 25% on $4 or on 50 cents, but I made them fix it just because they are so ridiculous about the pennies. I know they are there to make money -- but they miss the forest for the trees; they will always try to skim a few more pennies from you where they can, even if it means they lose ten times as much in good will as they make in pennies. - We were treated to some amazing entertainment (Platters and Bobby Arvon); the other shows were nothing special, but still passable. Our prognosis is that Royal Caribbean is a decent value for the money, but it has annoyances that we plan to avoid in the future by paying more for a better cruise line. We will still consider Royal Caribbean on occasions when the price and destination are right.

Enchantment of the Seas - Canada/New England

Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review by Bean2

Trip Details
Overall, the cruise was a success. There were some dreadful experiences, as well as some exceptional ones. I will highlight the good and the bad.
First, the bad:
Do not cruise with Royal Caribbean if you are not completely able-bodied. We cruised with my parents, and my father has difficulty standing and walking for long periods of time. Two weeks before departure, I contacted a Royal Caribbean "Special Needs" person, and requested a wheelchair for embarkation and debarkation. She informed me they would have a manifest with my father's name on it at the pier, and that a wheelchair would be waiting for him. We ended up waiting in the overheated terminal for over an hour and a half for a wheelchair. There was no one at the pier with any list, nor were they able to explain why the wheelchairs were not available.
For debarkation, I approached Guest Relations the day before, and was informed to come to the gangway at 8:00 a.m., and that wheelchair assistance would be available at that time. We arrived at 8:00 a.m., only to be informed that we had to wait until our color was called, and that only then would he be assisted off the ship. We were not called until 10:45 a.m. If we had not been wrongly advised that we would be departing the ship at 8:00 a.m., we could have slept a little later and had a leisurely breakfast before making our way down to the gangway at the time our color was called.
My husband asked me to paste this in on Royal Caribbean's part pertaining to gambling: "I expect and account for some overdone hype, but they go overboard (no pun intended). With Bingo, the cruise director implored people to spend $50 for a $5000 jackpot game in the morning because the prize "usually" goes then, and would be awarded in an afternoon session only if by chance it was not awarded in the morning. After we paid for our morning cards, and as the game began, the crowd was told that only 50 of 75 numbers would be drawn and that a full card was needed (24 numbers) to win. If you know some probability, you will immediately realize that NOBODY is winning a full card in 50 numbers; it is possible and may have happened once or twice by fluke, but the cruise director said it was "usual." In essence, we all paid $50 for virtually NO chance, at least in my case in reliance on fraudulent information provided to me by the cruise director.
As for blackjack, I was not the only one who noticed that far less than 4 out of 13 cards dealt were tens and faces while I was there -- and I was there a lot. I therefore believe (from that circumstantial evidence, not from direct proof) that someone removed tens and face cards (or added low cards) to slant the odds slightly more toward the house. I actually won a little anyway, but I was very lucky."
Now, the good:
Our dining room staff, Raj (head waiter), Rowan (waiter), and Hugo (assistant waiter) were exceptional. We have been on three cruises, and dine in some of NYC's best restaurants on a regular basis, and these guys were up there with the best. Despite the fact that the cruise was sold out, and the dining room was full every night, they made us feel as if we were the only table they were serving, and were very accommodating and friendly. I can't say enough good things about them. Similarly, the staff in the Windjammer was always there to refill your drink or clean up your table.
Similarly, our stateroom attendant, Karen, kept our room spotless, and made the famous towel animals for us each night -- this was a special treat for my parents, who had not experienced that on previous cruises on other lines.
We went to Chops one night for dinner. This was also an excellent experience. The meat was some of the best we've had.
The guest entertainment was great -- The Platters and Bobby Arvon were amazing entertainers, and we couldn't help but join in the standing ovations.
The new additions, especially the suspension bridges, are beautiful, and the bungee trampoline was good fun. But, in my opinion, the ships are just getting too big to really enjoy everything they have to offer, and trying to do all the activities they offer in the limited amount of time available does not leave enough time for relaxation. I suppose that is my fault for trying to join in on everything, but a lot of the activities conflict with one another, too.
Minor notes (from Bean's picky hubby again):
- The cabins are nothing to write home about, and at least some of them (i.e., ours!) are so close to mechanical stuff that you are shocked out of sleep at 6 a.m. by deafening noise whenever the ship is docking (which was five out of seven nights on this cruise). That's the non-monetary price you pay for getting a good monetary price by not picking your room, I guess.
- The shore excursions are too expensive for what you get; in most cases you can actually get the exact same (exact) excursion for a lot less by just going ashore and booking it yourself.
- Royal Caribbean nickels and dimes you too much about pennies when you are spending mucho dollars. Example: frequent cruisers get a coupon booklet that is supposedly worth this and that. Well, one coupon was for 10 free minutes of internet ($5 value) -- I had to go three times to get them to credit it. Another was for 25% off a "coffee product." So I bought a latte (almost $4) with hazelnut flavor (50 cents extra) and they tried to take the 25% off the 50 cents for the flavor. We dropped $4000 on this cruise and I didn't give a crap about the difference of 25% on $4 or on 50 cents, but I made them fix it just because they are so ridiculous about the pennies. I know they are there to make money -- but they miss the forest for the trees; they will always try to skim a few more pennies from you where they can, even if it means they lose ten times as much in good will as they make in pennies.
- We were treated to some amazing entertainment (Platters and Bobby Arvon); the other shows were nothing special, but still passable.
Our prognosis is that Royal Caribbean is a decent value for the money, but it has annoyances that we plan to avoid in the future by paying more for a better cruise line. We will still consider Royal Caribbean on occasions when the price and destination are right.
Bean2’s Full Rating Summary
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