Enchantment of the Seas - Western Caribbean: Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review by davispigeon

Enchantment of the Seas 5
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Enchantment of the Seas - Western Caribbean

Sail Date: December 2004
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
What a lovely ship with wonderful artwork! A really nice size, the Enchantment rarely felt crowded (except on the pool deck during the at-sea days). The ship was in very good condition. I noticed that the buttons in the elevators were worn off but everything else was immaculate. The artwork varied from large glass sculptures to small collages of leaves and flowers. Very nicely done. I am still floating on a cloud and I've been back three days. This was a seven-night cruise over Christmas, unusual for the Enchantment since she typically does shorter 4-5 day cruises.

The dining staff were a little unsure at times since there were additional menus that they were unfamiliar with. The Cruise Compass had a few errors also because of the extra days. There are extremely minor quibbles added just to give a complete picture. We arrived by taxi to the port at about 11:30 a.m. and there were no crowds or even lines. It took about 15 minutes to walk through security, do embarkation More photos and get to the check in counter. We were onboard by noon and headed up to the Windjammer since our cabin wouldn't be ready until 1 p.m. The Windjammer was laid out nicely and the wait staff and chefs were waiting to greet everyone. The buffet looked beautiful with watermelons carved for the holidays (Santa's face, reindeer, etc.) and those colorful flowers made out of vegetables. I wasn't very hungry so I snacked on some fruit and cheese. After a little lunch I headed to the spa to make my massage appointment and sign up for the unlimited fitness card. The fitness card was $69.95 for the week and pays for all the classes that have an extra charge (yoga, Pilates, Jazzercise, etc.) plus you don't have to sign up for the class. A very nice deal if you are into the other classes but since I was just wanting to do yoga and stretch (free) it ended up being not really worth it. Oh well, it did keep me going to class since I had paid for it. Yes, I actually went to yoga three times and stretch class twice. I managed to gain only three pounds on the cruise (instead of my usual ten!).

After the spa, we checked out our cabin. What a well-designed room it was! It felt roomy, definitely helped by the window and mirrors. The storage was cleverly tucked into every available niche and I had more than enough room for everything. Even the bathroom felt more spacious than on Carnival or Norwegian. I especially liked that the mirrors were on both sides of the cabinet doors (very handy for makeup and hair). We went on deck for the sailaway band that seemed to be playing all afternoon...Caribbean steelpan band called Heat Wave. They had some CUTE guys playing and we boogied as the ship sailed out of the Port of the Everglades (which is much nicer than the Port of Miami).

Our first port of call was Key West. We walked around a bit and a man presented us with a coconut frond fish (we gave him $1 for it). It was kind of a cool Key West moment. There wasn't much to do that we were interested in so we got back on the ship for our COUPLE'S DE-STRESS package. Ahh, how I love spas on board. The de-stress package consisted of a hydrotherapy treatment (nicely smelling personal Jacuzzi with a lovely view out to sea) and then time in the Karma capsule (a warmed massage bed with music and more scent). It was definitely very relaxing but my husband would have preferred a person massaging him. Janessa, the athletic director, was our attendant. She was just great all week long and ran the exercise classes. I really enjoyed them.

We had dinner was in the formal dining room (the Fair Lady) every night, waited on by Stanislaus (the best head waiter I've ever had on a cruise), Saul (our waiter) and Pedro (our assistant waiter...we wanted to take him home he was so amazing). Some of my favorite dishes: the pumpkin soup (perfectly smooth and creamy), the shrimp scampi (full of flavor), the salmon with orange teriyaki sauce (surprisingly tender and buttery for grilled salmon), the warm chocolate cake (need I say more?) and the Grand Marnier souffle (with oh so yummy sauce ladled on by our head waiter). The freshly baked bread every day was delightful. It was different every day with at least two choices at each meal: cornbread, rye, sourdough, potato rolls, focaccia, etc. Breakfast in the formal dining room wasn't terribly impressive: the eggs were frequently dry or overcooked and the toast was always cold. I much preferred breakfast in the Windjammer because of the omelette/egg bar. I had perfectly cooked over-medium eggs (almost never happens except at home) and some lovely herb & cheese omelettes. I also really enjoyed the kadota figs and prunes (I'm English and we LOVE canned fruit!) but they ran out on day 5. Lunch was kind of an afterthought for me. I was too full from breakfast most days or I was on an excursion. This led to the dreaded 4 p.m. munchies...which frequently consisted of the crispy fries at the Solarium bar. I would have loved High Tea instead to help me make it through to dinner (at 8:30 p.m.). We ordered tea service in our room every morning and my husband used the hot water to make coffee in his French press while I had my Typhoo tea. Room service was on time except for Christmas morning (probably everyone ordered in). We ordered room service one afternoon from the Light Meals menu (we called and they told us which menu was available at that time). I liked the Spinach wrap (with smoked salmon) but the fruit plate was kind of blah (as were the fruit appetizers at dinner).

The public rooms weren't very well utilized. The Carousel lounge and the Fascinating Rhythm lounge were practically deserted most of the time. I thought they could do something like games, more trivia, etc. I would also like to have seen some movies shown in the Orpheum theatre during the day. There wasn't a great deal going on most days, which wasn't such a bad thing since it forced me to relax! The night shows were pretty standard although I enjoyed parts of the "Stage to Screen" show.

We booked our shore excursions independently (much cheaper and more times were available). Swam with the dolphins at Chankanaab Park in Cozumel and went snorkeling with the stingrays at Stingray City in Grand Cayman. We used Captain Bryan for the stingray excursion because we wanted the catamaran. It was awesome! What a great experience that was. Even though it's a huge tourist thing, we were on a catamaran with 19 people and had a blast. I think the stingrays outnumbered us! We were a bit late to Captain Bryan's but we had put down a reservation so they waited for us. Got to have some yummy English pastries at the bakery in front of CB's. I didn't care for the hard sell we got in Cozumel and at the Straw Market in Nassau. The shopping was pretty boring in all the ports: mostly cheap souvenirs and jewelry everywhere. We had a hard time finding anything we wanted.

Formal nights were great: so many people dressed up and it looked so festive! I saw very few people in T-shirts and I think they were on their way to the Windjammer! I loved our formal portraits and we spent a lot of money on them.

Too soon we had to disembark, a fast and easy process. Our luggage was easy to find since we didn't dash off as soon as we heard our color called. By the time we got to the luggage pickup, there was very little luggage in our color area! I'll have to remember that for next time. Less

Published 01/15/05

Cabin review: I2608 Large Ocean View Stateroom

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