• TRAVEL NOTICE: Learn more about COVID-19
  • Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • Cruise Tips
  • News
  • Deals
You may also like
Dismiss
The Best – and Worst – Cruise Experiences of 2018
The Best – and Worst – Cruise Experiences of 2018
Just Back From Enchantment of the Seas: 4 Things We Love About Mid-Sized Cruise Ships
Enchantment of the Seas (Photo: Royal Caribbean International)

Just Back From Enchantment of the Seas: 4 Things We Love About Mid-Sized Cruise Ships

Just Back From Enchantment of the Seas: 4 Things We Love About Mid-Sized Cruise Ships
Enchantment of the Seas (Photo: Royal Caribbean International)

October 22, 2019

Dori Saltzman
Contributor
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

With more, large cruise ships coming out every year, we spend most of our time at sea on ships that hold at least 4,000 people. We love the excitement and bells and whistles these big ships provide. But it's always refreshing to get onboard some of the industry's mid-sized ships, which remind us of why we fell in love with cruising in the first place.

Such was our experience on an Enchantment of the Seas cruise out of Galveston. The ship can hold 2,730 passengers at maximum capacity; our sailing had some 2,600 people onboard but most of the time it felt like there weren't nearly that many. We always found a table in the buffet and in the theater for every evening show, and there was never a long line to get off the ship in port.

Here are four things Enchantment of the Seas reminded us of about cruising on mid-sized ships, and one thing to watch out for when choosing a mid-sized ship.

1. It Rarely Feels Crowded

Men's Belly Flop Competition on Enchantment of the Seas (Photo: Cruise Critic)

We're so used to avoiding the buffet on a big ship that we apprehensively headed up stairs for lunch on a sea day just to see how bad the lines were. We had no intention of staying to eat.

Featured Videos

Wonder of the Seas Construction Update: Sea Trials

Wonder of the Seas Construction Update: Sea Trials

Wonder of the Seas Completes Sea Trials

Wonder of the Seas Completes Sea Trials

Cruise Critic 2021: Cheers to 25 Years!

Cruise Critic 2021: Cheers to 25 Years!

Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months

Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months

Perfect Day at CocoCay: Here's How We Spent 2 DAYS at Royal Caribbean's Private Island

Perfect Day at CocoCay: Here's How We Spent 2 DAYS at Royal Caribbean's Private Island

Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog

Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog

Live From Adventure of the Seas: What's the Same, What's Different and What's Better?

Live From Adventure of the Seas: What's the Same, What's Different and What's Better?

Here's What We Packed For Our Royal Caribbean Cruise (June 2021)

Here's What We Packed For Our Royal Caribbean Cruise (June 2021)

The Most Exciting New Ships In 2021

The Most Exciting New Ships In 2021

5 Crazy Cruise Deck Attractions For the Adrenaline Junkie

5 Crazy Cruise Deck Attractions For the Adrenaline Junkie

Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises!

Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises!

Odyssey of the Seas -- From Steel Cutting to Delivery 2021

Odyssey of the Seas -- From Steel Cutting to Delivery 2021

Video Of Odyssey Of The Seas Conveyance March 2021

Video Of Odyssey Of The Seas Conveyance March 2021

Royal Caribbean Group Announces E-muster, Keyless Cabin Check-in And Other App Improvements

Royal Caribbean Group Announces E-muster, Keyless Cabin Check-in And Other App Improvements

Royal Caribbean Odyssey Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Royal Caribbean Odyssey Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Shipyard Tour: Royal Caribbean’s Symphony Of The Seas Gets Its Finishing Touches -- Video

Shipyard Tour: Royal Caribbean’s Symphony Of The Seas Gets Its Finishing Touches -- Video

Harmony Of The Seas Video Tour – Inside Look At One Of Royal Caribbean’s Most Popular Cruise Ships

Harmony Of The Seas Video Tour – Inside Look At One Of Royal Caribbean’s Most Popular Cruise Ships

Symphony Of The Seas Video Tour

Symphony Of The Seas Video Tour

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum Of The Seas Celebrates Keel Laying

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum Of The Seas Celebrates Keel Laying

Sea Beyond: An Innovative Cruise Experience By Royal Caribbean

Sea Beyond: An Innovative Cruise Experience By Royal Caribbean

Sneak Peak At Symphony Of The Seas

Sneak Peak At Symphony Of The Seas

Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day

Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day

What’s Your Size? Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class Vs. Majesty Of The Seas - Video

What’s Your Size? Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class Vs. Majesty Of The Seas - Video

Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship

Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship

Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas Photo Tour

Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas Photo Tour

Spectrum Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Spectrum Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Royal Caribbean's Enchantment Of The Seas Highlights

Royal Caribbean's Enchantment Of The Seas Highlights

Inside Cabins On Cruise Ships: Whose Is Best?

Inside Cabins On Cruise Ships: Whose Is Best?

Harvest Caye Cruise Port Video Tour

Harvest Caye Cruise Port Video Tour

Photo Tour of Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas

Photo Tour of Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas

What It Means To Be Loyal To Royal

What It Means To Be Loyal To Royal

7 Can’t-Miss Experiences on Allure Of The Seas

7 Can’t-Miss Experiences on Allure Of The Seas

Video Tour of Allure Of The Seas' Bars

Video Tour of Allure Of The Seas' Bars

Harmony Of The Seas Youth Place

Harmony Of The Seas Youth Place

Harmony Of The Seas Pool And Sports Zone

Harmony Of The Seas Pool And Sports Zone

Harmony Of The Seas Central Park On Royal Caribbean International

Harmony Of The Seas Central Park On Royal Caribbean International

Harmony Of The Seas Boardwalk

Harmony Of The Seas Boardwalk

Harmony Of The Seas Entertainment Place

Harmony Of The Seas Entertainment Place

Harmony Of The Seas Royal Promenade

Harmony Of The Seas Royal Promenade

Harmony Of The Seas Vitality Spa And Fitness Center

Harmony Of The Seas Vitality Spa And Fitness Center

Perfect Storm Water Slides On Harmony Of The Seas

Perfect Storm Water Slides On Harmony Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas

Harmony Of The Seas Cabins - Video Tour - Cruise Critic

Harmony Of The Seas Cabins - Video Tour - Cruise Critic

Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Tries The Ultimate Abyss Slide On Harmony Of The Seas (POV Video)

Cruise Critic Tries The Ultimate Abyss Slide On Harmony Of The Seas (POV Video)

Greased Lightnin': Royal Caribbean Brings Another Broadway Hit

Greased Lightnin': Royal Caribbean Brings Another Broadway Hit

Plunging Into Adventure On The Tallest Slide At Sea: Royal Caribbean Reveals 10-Story Ultimate Abyss

Plunging Into Adventure On The Tallest Slide At Sea: Royal Caribbean Reveals 10-Story Ultimate Abyss

Cruise Critic Flowrider On Royal Caribbean's Freedom Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Flowrider On Royal Caribbean's Freedom Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Anthem of the Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Anthem of the Seas

Anthem Of The Seas Welcomes Gigi The Giraffe

Anthem Of The Seas Welcomes Gigi The Giraffe

Oasis Of The Seas Flowrider - Cruise Critic Goes Surfing

Oasis Of The Seas Flowrider - Cruise Critic Goes Surfing

Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Jazz On 4 Performance

Oasis Of The Seas Jazz On 4 Performance

Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade Parade (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade Parade (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Carousel In Action (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Carousel In Action (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Ship Tour -- Main Dining Room (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Ship Tour -- Main Dining Room (2009)

At first, it looked just like we'd expected, a mess of people -- but it didn't take long for certain facts to make themselves apparent. No one was actually waiting more than a minute to get to the dish they wanted. (The sole exception being the omelet station on a port day morning.) And there were plenty of empty seats. So we stayed, had a tasty meal and didn't have to worry about not being done in time to catch the belly flop competition.

2. It's So Walkable

One of our favorite things about being on the big ships is that we always hit our walking goal of 10,000 steps easily. On a mid-sized ships, it's not quite as easy, which is actually great. With our cabin on Deck 8, there's no deck onboard from which we can't walk up or down the stairs and then to our cabin. Even if our cabin was on Deck 3, it wouldn't be such a chore to walk to the buffet on Deck 9.

And getting from front to back? It takes less than two minutes, so anyone with walking challenges should have no problem getting from any elevator bank to their room. We love it, too, because if we forget a sweater or book, it's easy to run back to the room and grab what we need without too much effort.

3. It's Less Expensive Onboard

A medium-sized cruise ship means less space for optional venues and that means fewer surcharges. Enchantment of the Seas has just two optional dining venues: a steakhouse and a limited seating, but almost daily Chef's Table. There's also an extra fee coffee bar and a Ben & Jerry's counter, but when it comes to extra-fee food, that's it. There are also no high-tech bells and whistles onboard, so no spaces that need a surcharge to justify their presence. Ultimately, that means it's easier to stick to your budget onboard, especially if you opt for a pre-paid drinks package or avoid extra-fee drinks altogether. 

With that said, crew onboard do find ways to get you to part with your money. From carts loaded with mimosas and Bloody Marys in the buffet at breakfast to a retail clerk selling Inch of Gold jewelry at the entrance to the pool deck you should still keep an eye on your discretionary spending if you're on any kind of budget.

4. It's Easier to Make Friends

Pool deck dance party on Enchantment of the Seas (Photo: Dori Saltzman)

One of the most frustrating things about big ships is that when you meet someone by chance -- say at a shared table for breakfast or on a tender coming back from port -- you might never bump into them again. On large ships, with thousands of people, it's never a guarantee that you'll see that potential new friend again. But on mid-sized ships, that's not a problem. We met folks at shared tables for breakfast and lunch that we saw several times again throughout the cruise, whether it was at trivia or karaoke or just walking down the hall.

It Might Be Missing a "Standard"

Older and smaller ships don't always conform to what we expect. Case in point: a basketball court. After a full walkthrough of Enchantment of the Seas from top to bottom, we found ourselves confused when we never came across one, a feature that you find on very cruise ship of a certain age we've ever been on has had it. We checked the map. Nope, Enchantment of the Seas doesn't have a sports court. Yet another reason to make sure you do your pre-trip research.

Enchantment also doesn't have a zipline, a fact we knew but a couple we met at breakfast one morning did not. With every Royal Caribbean commercial showing off ziplines and Flow Riders it's not surprising that they expected at least one of these attractions on their very first cruise.

How was this article?

Featured News

1
Carnival’s Newest Cruise Ship Mardi Gras Gets Its Own Parade at Heartfelt Naming Ceremony
5
While Scenic Continues its Small Ocean Cruise Ship Expansion, Line is Working on New Designs
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.