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Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,986 Reviews

Unexpected Enchantment!

Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review by jinq2

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2008
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Large Inside Stateroom

During a period of some pretty excruciating stress, I convinced my husband we should go on a last-minute bargain cruise - no frills - our first inside cabin. We chose RCL's Enchantment of the Seas, even though our prior cruises were both on Princess (Caribbean Princess and Grand Princess). We booked a pre- and post-cruise package at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, a city I hadn't visited since I was a little girl and was excited to see again. We had a lovely dinner at The Melting Pot one night, the Mai Kai(a place I remembered fondly from my childhood) another night, and a lovely Cuban restaurant the third night. The Hyatt could not have treated us better - they upgraded our room to one with a view of the harbor, instead of the garden room we had paid for. When my husband found used condom wrappers in the desk drawer (eek!) at the same time I found sand on the sheets (double eek!) they moved us to a gorgeous, huge king-size bed room on the corner, with a huge balcony overlooking all the luxury yachts, as well as the port. Plus, they gave us tickets for free breakfast. And when we returned after the cruise, they upgraded us again to the same class room and gave us free breakfast again. Transfers to the port were included, and a van came and picked us up around noon. The port was about 2 minutes away, so that worked well. When we arrived, we waited in line only about five minutes, and were on our way aboard the ship. Everyone was friendly and the process was very effective. The cabins weren't ready yet, but I bought a water package. My husband had prepaid for a soft drink package and we asked if the cup would be in our cabin or if we needed to show his card and pick it up there. They gave him the cup, but then there was one in our cabin. We tried to return it, but they said no, just keep it and that he could get me free soft drinks as well. I don't like soft drinks (I am an iced tea person!) but I did use the cup for my iced tea, and it was a nice souvenir. We ate lunch at the buffet, which did NOT compare favorably to the buffet on Princess. Many of the entrees were congealed and/or dry. The soups were very good and the salad bar was nice, as was the sandwich bar. We ate there more than once just for convenience - I could always find *something* that wasn't too bad, but I was disappointed in the overall quality. The breakfast was a little better, but not much. More on the food later. This was our first interior cabin, and I was nervous about feeling closed in and having enough room, as my hubby and I are both supersized. I'm not going to lie - the Deluxe Interior *was* small. But we actually really liked it. It was cozy, and had everything we needed - a desk and chair with mirror, plenty of space for our clothes, and a little loveseat with a table. We don't mind hanging out on the bed to watch TV (a VERY TINY TV!) so that's what we generally did when we were in the room. The bed was extremely comfy - I fell in love with the throw pillows and asked our steward to leave them for me, which he did every day. It was a challenge finding room to stow our suitcases, but we managed. The bathroom was small, but doable. I wish there had been a shower door, but in this cabin there was still a curtain. The muster drill was laughable - they really need some work. No comparison to Princess. They spent an inordinate amount of time lining everyone up and yelling at us to stay in some strange formation I couldn't quite figure out. They literally packed us in like sardines - and it was SOOOOOO hot that day. Then when it came time for the drill, you couldn't see or hear the people giving the instructions. One lady actually fainted from the heat, and a few others were close. Had there been an actual emergency, we would not have known what to do at all. The ship itself was lovely, but didn't seem to make good use of the space. Everything seemed to be out of the way, including (and especially) the shops and the photo shop. The pool areas were very nice - instead of going ashore on Grand Cayman, as we had been there before but not to Cozumel, we stayed on board and hung out by the pool, and I swam. There were about ten people out there, and I kind of liked that! We participated in a few shipboard activities, which we did not do on Princess. We played Name that Tune (We came in 2nd, thanks to the Motown category!) and went for the Spanish class, which was surprisingly fun. We really enjoyed the band Bomboleo in the Latin-themed bar. At night, we visited again and watched everyone salsa dancing while we had a cocktail - it was lovely. We visited the bar at the tiptop of the ship - it was very dark and stylish, but the music wasn't to our taste. We had late seating dinner, and were accommodated with a table for two at the back of the restaurant. Our waiters were nice but not over the top, and our head waiter always remembered our names, which I liked. The food was good but not great - some nights were better than others. Nothing I ate made me want to spit it out, but it was more or less Family Buffet quality, with some nights standing out a little bit more. We ate at the specialty steakhouse one night, and the food was excellent - no complaints there. If it had been a 7-night or more cruise, we definitely would have eaten there again. The breakfasts were the best meals we had on Enchantment by far. We sat with others, which was fun. We met some really nice people. Overall, though, food on Princess was so much better. I didn't have lunch in the restaurant, but my husband did. They had a lovely salad bar set up where you went through and told them exactly what you wanted and they made it up for you and tossed it to order, with grilled chicken or shrimp. He enjoyed it thoroughly. I can't say we were ever hungry. We ordered room service a few times - delivery was fast and the food was hot and not steamed. We had chicken wings twice, which were delicious. My hubby had a burger, which he enjoyed. He missed the burger bar on Princess, though. Our second port was Cozumel. It was extremely hot that day, and the walk from the ship to the port seemed endless to me. I had never been to Cozumel before, and was very pleasantly surprised. The port was lovely. The transportation to our excursion was shoddy, though. It was described as bus transportation, but instead they herded us all into cabs. Then on the way back, they said we HAD to leave in the same configuration we came in. They had 3 of us in one cab, and 5 others went in a minivan cab. On the way back, three other people had already left, so they said we couldn't leave until the other three came back and we had to wait in the hot sun. We weren't happy with that. The excursion itself, however, couldn't have been better. We went to the Playa Mia day resort for a Mexican cooking class. First we were led to a large open-air tent with a lunch buffet set up, and a bar area that was also free. The buffet was small, but tasty - especially the fish. Then the chef came and got us and escorted us to the cooking area, which was air-conditioned but the sun streaming through the large windows still left it very warm in there, especially since we were cooking. The young chef was adorable and charming, as was his assistant, whose primary job was to run back and forth to the open bar to bring us whatever we wanted, including tequila shots, which the chef matched those who drank them shot for shot! (Nice job, huh?) We got to wear silly tall chef hats and aprons, then we cooked a fantastic three-course meal. We sauteed chorizo with peppers and onions, flattened some sort of corn cake with the tortilla press and fried that, and that was our appetizer. For the main course we could choose fish or chicken (we both chose fish, since we never know how to cook it at home.) The fish was very fresh and white (grouper, I think) with no fishy smell whatsoever. We sauteed it and wrapped it in a banana leaf, covered it with peppers and onions, chopped green olives, white wine and tomato slices, and a Mexican spice mixture, and wrapped it in foil packets. Then we decorated our dishes (which was soooo much fun) - he showed us how to do swans and various designs - and we wrote out names on top (except for my hubby, who wrote "Eat Me" on his!) so they'd know whose was whose. For dessert, we made homemade creamy rice pudding and thin little sugar cookies which we flattened on the tortilla press (I so want one now!) and we stacked them with the rice pudding and made little towers. At the end, they took us to a dining room, plied us with more liquor and bottled water, and served us our meal. We had so many laughs (and I didn't even drink tequila!) and really enjoyed our group and the experience. It was totally worth the money and we would do it again in a heartbeat. And I must say, my husband isn't the adventurous type - he did this for me - and even he had a blast. Afterwards, you can spend two and a half hours in their shopping village or at the beach... I wanted to swim in the ocean, which I did - I didn't go over my head, as there were some feisty waves - but they had floatation devices, so it worked. We relaxed on the beach for a while before heading back. I would definitely choose an itinerary that included Cozumel in the future, just to go on that excursion again! The debarkation process was very smooth - we liked it much better than Princess, where you have to leave your cabin very early in the morning. On RCL, you fill out your debarkation information and then they assign you a time and a place. You simply report to a certain lounge or restaurant at the appointed time, and you only wait 15-20 minutes before debarking. Up until that point, you can stay in your cabin if you like. Since we didn't have a plane to catch, we had breakfast in the restaurant, then just hung out until it was time to leave. In a way, all the comparisons to Princess may be unfair because both times we cruised, the ship we were on was in the highest class, and Enchantment is an older ship. But we saw no signs of wear and tear, and for the money we paid, we got much more bang for our buck than we ever expected. I often see this ship featured in a lot of the last-minute cruise deals (and by "last-minute," we booked about a month ahead of time, and our deal was extremely cheap - less than $300 per person for the cabin) and we would not hesitate to choose this ship again.


jinq2's Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin Review

Large Inside Stateroom
Cabin L 4751

Quiet location, central to just about everywhere. Plenty of closet and drawer space. Definitely small, but surprisingly liveable. Makes great use of the space available. Bed extremely comfy and luxurious.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Cozumel

This was the first time we had ever visited Cozumel. We decided to book only one excursion, and since we had been to Grand Cayman before, we chose to book a Mexican cooking excursion at the Playa Mia resort. The port area was clean and lovely (although the pier from the ship seemed endless in the scorching heat!) and we were sorry we didn't have more time to explore it. The Playa Mia resort was very nice, with everything you would want on an excursion, from a free buffet and open bar, to hammocks, to a lovely sand beach and the ocean. Our excursion was *the best* - we cooked and ate a scrumptious Mexican meal with the most charming chef ever. There was much laughing and an air of festivity and celebration. We would definitely go on this excursion again. The chef informed us that he changes the menu every year so people can come back and have a totally different experience. Afterwards, we had time to visit the beach and frolic and float in the ocean before returning to the ship. We were upset with the transportation method, however, and the long waiting time required of us before we could return.


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jinq2
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