6 Norfolk to Caribbean - Eastern Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Reviews

CRUISING WITH A FAMILY OF 107 KIDS PLUS AN INFANT 7 RCCL cruises, and I'd have to say this might have been the best one yet! I'm trying to think of something negative to say, but there's really nothing worth complaining ... Read More
CRUISING WITH A FAMILY OF 107 KIDS PLUS AN INFANT 7 RCCL cruises, and I'd have to say this might have been the best one yet! I'm trying to think of something negative to say, but there's really nothing worth complaining about. Its sad that anyone reading this will get no help from embarkation and dis-em info because the last RCCL cruise from Norfolk has left for the season - Norfolk was a beautiful port to cruise from, and the ship had a true air of Southern hospitality from all the Virginians, Kentuckians, No. Carolinians on board. Pre-Cruise: Spent a night in a local hotel, had friends drive us to the port in the morning, left our two cars in the hotel lot for free. Spent $100 for a hotel room which included a dinner and breakfast, as opposed to spending $135 to park at the port. For anyone reading this, wherever you cruise from, if driving, look into hotel deals that will include parking - many offer such deals, they just don't advertise them. Embarkation: A breeze except for traffic. Arrived 11:30AM - minor lines, onboard within 15 minutes. Up to the Windjammer to begin a week of 5 to 6 meals a day. Cabins were available at 1PM. Cabins: Minor disappointment that nothing noticeable was done to cabins at Drydock. There was some wear to the woodwork, but everything was spotlessly clean and in perfect working order. We had a D1 balcony stateroom. The balcony is about 4 by 6 - very small with two chairs and a table, but useful. Two cabins (7626 & 7628, adjoining) for the six of us which included a 1 year old. Very comfortable beds (even the sofa bed - futon) in my opinion. Our pre-night stay was in a very nice 3 star hotel with very soft mattresses which messed up my back - it took a couple of nights on RCCL's fine bedding to get it back to normal. Typical RCCL bathroom with a shower curtain. If you bring some small weights (fridge clip-on magnets worked great) and attach them to the shower curtain it stays in place. Otherwise the shower curtain will be your best friend throughout the cruise. Storage space was more than we've had in other cabins - quite sufficient. RIDDLE #1: Why do wives appreciate the toilets on cruise ships? Answer: Because husbands have to close the lid to flush and therefore can't leave the seat up. Food: No complaints here. The five adults among us were totally pleased with all our Dining Room dinners. Our 1 Year Old granddaughter was treated like an absolute princess everywhere onboard, but especially in the DR. After our first night a bowl of diced fruit was waiting for her every night as we came to dinner, and they truly fawned over her (and all of us for that matter), at each dinner. We had one lunch (last day) in the DR, and my wife is very sorry we didn't utilize it more - a killer Salad Bar, along with many unique lunch choices. Had several Room Service breakfasts, and some excellent Spinach/Artichoke dip from RS also. Note to Readers: this review is kind of rambling all over the place - you might want to fasten your seat belt. While I"m thinking about it, I wanted to mention some items I brought: duct tape, bungee cords, super glue. I actually used them all. The bungees and duct tape held my Yankee flag on the balcony. The super glue was used by a fellow M&M'er who broke her glasses and used the glue for a temporary fix. Oh: clothespins too. Handy on the balcony and in the shower (the showers have a little clothesline for hanging wet suits, etc.). RIDDLE #2: Why did my cruise remind me of a book I was reading, THE TRAGIC HISTORY OF THE SEA? Because it was a tragedy that the cruise only lasted nine days! We never did more than a 7 day before. I was wondering if 9 days was overkill. NOPE! I'm still trying to figure out where the time went - it was over way too quick. Entertainment: Best Variety of any cruise I've been on. CD Keith Williams was excellent and very personable; I admire a CD who acknowledges me and remembers meeting me days earlier. Assistant Irky: all I can say is "Heh, Heh, Heh!". (You'll understand if you meet him). The opening show had a comedian (haven't totally unpacked and can't find Day 1 to remember his name - Barnhart maybe?). Other nights had Comic Pianist Glenn Smith (great show), Comic Juggler Charlie Peachock (my favorite show of the cruise), Comedy/Magician Farrel Dillon, Horizon (Motown singing trio with an excellent performance), Vocalist Dolores Park, Comedian Chas Elstner. Lots of activities onboard (trivia, Nintendo Wii tournaments, live music, dance lessons). Don't miss The Quest (unless you're a 17th century Puritan). RIDDLE #3: What was the most popular animal at The Quest? A Zee-Bra (joke stolen from Sub or Yoga - can't remember who told it first, but thanks). Excursions: Our three younger ones (22, 21, 19) did the Segway Tour in San Juan. They all enjoyed it and my son insists he's buying one when he gets home. In St Thomas we did the Champagne Catamaran. Good snorkeling, great beach, great Rum Punch (it must have had tranquilizers in it because I got back to the ship and slept for 14 straight hours!). Several of our M&M'ers did the Turtle Cove snorkeling, and if you're into snorkeling that was probably a better choice, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed our excursion. In Samana many of us booked directly through Tours with Terry (easily found on CC threads). That was an advantage of reading the M&M thread for our cruise - all 35 or so people on the two excursions were M&M'ers! We had about 17 horseback riders, others did the ATVs through Terry, and myself, wife and daughter were taken to a beach with our granddaughter where everyone met up after their rides. We had our own private Caribbean beach for two hours before everyone got there - it felt like being a millionaire - no one else around, lying in the sand with no one in sight, being able to scratch my arse without worrying who's watching (Oops! TMI!). At Labadee we did a snorkel excursion, and the snorkeling was the best I've seen in four Caribbean cruises. More Rum Punch, but this was a shorter ride so I handled this one better. A note on Samana and Labadee: these are very, very poor areas. Several of our M&M'ers brought clothing and school supplies to give to locals. If you have room in your suitcases, please consider doing the same - they can really use it. You can very easily find someone who will take the items and give them to someone in need. Cruising With An Infant: I asked a lot of questions on CruiseCritc about cruising with infants, and many posters said we were crazy for trying it. WRONG! Our granddaughter had a great time (she's 13 months). She's a smart little cookie who looked forward to her fruit bowl and bread at dinner each night (not to mention great kid's dinners and trying everything we had), and she learned what elevators do. Some spare time was spent following her into an open elevator, following her off as she explored a new deck, following her back on when they opened again.... We brought our own Pack'N'Play for her to sleep in (we drove, making that easier), but RCCL does provide them. She slept all night every night, and enjoyed seeing the ocean and beaches for the first time in her young life. No regrets at all about bringing her. What helped was having five adults (grandparents, parents, aunt), who could take turns, sometimes missing an excursion or show to stay with her (a very small price to pay for the great memories we now have). Meet & Mingle: If your cruise is seven days or longer, DO sign up and attend the M&M. We had 107 sign up for ours, probably 60 to 70 present. RCCL gives out several prizes and our group also brought our own prizes (little samples of our hometown areas - marinades, mustards, trinkets, shirts). We had so many items brought that every family present won at least one thing; we had to re-draw for the last several items because everyone had already won something, so we started again. We were quite well represented throughout the cruise (10 of 12 Belly Flop contestants, members on the 2nd & 3rd place Quest teams, a majority of the Sexy Leggers) - yeah, we had a fun group. Corresponding with each other beforehand added to the pleasure of getting to know each other, and feeling like a family before we even met. I shall keep my Pink Mohawk wig as a fond memory of my M&M friends. RIDDLE #4: What does my title mean,"Cruising With 107 Kids Plus an Infant"? This was a very "young-at-heart" group (I'm 56 but haven't grown up yet). I swear this cruise was almost like a Fountain of Youth! Our age range was from a 1 yr old to numerous teens to late-late-late 50's. And all 107 kids played together very nicely. Debarkation: As Platinum members we had a private lounge to wait in. Only problem was the lounge couldn't hold half the people who qualified for it. Finding luggage was easy unless you were like one poor person whose tag fell off their bag, thereby meaning their bag could be anywhere in the terminal. Tip: if you have extra luggage tags put more than one on each bag - that way, in case one accidentally gets ripped off, your luggage can still find its way to the right location. RIDDLE #5: Why am I sitting at my desk typing this instead of sailing someplace on a relaxing, enjoyable cruise ship? Sorry, I don't have an answer for that one myself!!! Thank you, RCCL. Thank you, my many M&M friends - we really do miss you all (and for you many Southerners: we really do miss y'all). Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We are Diamond level cruisers on Royal Caribbean and have been on many of their ships. We had one previous cruise on a Vision Class ship, the Spendour of the Seas, and did not care much for that ship. However, since this cruise was leaving ... Read More
We are Diamond level cruisers on Royal Caribbean and have been on many of their ships. We had one previous cruise on a Vision Class ship, the Spendour of the Seas, and did not care much for that ship. However, since this cruise was leaving for Norfolk, Va, about 3 hours drive from home in Raleigh, NC, we decided to take the cruise even though we had reservations about the ship. It was a nine day cruise and listed at a good price. It even had a price reduction that we got shortly after the booking. Then I read that the ship had just come out of dry-dock and I figured it would be in good shape. Our drive to the port was quick and easy, a little over 3 hours. I had Googled map directions so I knew exactly how to get to the port and to the parking. Since there will be no more Royal Caribbean cruises from Norfolk there is not much need for a long explanation of the shortcoming of cruising out of that port, i.e., no port side parking, small terminal building, etc. We parked at a lot across the street from the port rather than use the lot the cruise line recommended which was about a mile away and a short shuttle bus ride to the port. It was the same price, $15 a day, and made it a lot easier to get into and out of the port area. Check-in was quick and easy. It actually took us longer to get through the security check point than to check in. That's because we happened to be behind a person in a wheel chair and there were some passengers who apparently had never gone through a security check before. They did not know how to put things from their pockets on the scanner belt. There was a question on the Royal Caribbean Facebook discussion board about bringing bottled water and soft drinks on board. I had a six-pack of each in my carry-on back pack and there was absolutely no problem with this. The only question they asked was whether we had an open bottles. When I got to the cabin I asked the cabin steward to remove stuff from the mini-refrigerator so I could put my water in and he simply said just take the stuff out and put it on a shelf, which we did. Then we put it back on the last day of the cruise. We liked the cruise and really enjoyed having 2 at sea days going and coming back. And the last port stop was at Labadee, Haiti, an all day beach stop. The other port stops were San Juan, Puerto Rico; St Thomas, US VI; and Samara, Dominican Republic. We had been to all of these places before except the Dominican Republic so we did really have a need to do tours. We walked around the Old San Juan area a bit and then went back on the ship. We went to Sapphire Beach in St Thomas. Due to travel alerts from the US State Department about crime in the Dominican Republic we had not planned to even get off the ship there. But after all of the tour and most of the people had left the ship we decided to at least go ashore. There is really not that much to see, just a market area selling the usual trinkets. We had no problems but we did hear that a couple from the ship was taken for a ride in a taxi and robbed at knife point. We heard this from another passenger but got no official confirmation of it. Our cabin on the ship, a junior suite (8090), was really nice. It appeared that the furniture in the cabin (soft, 2 chairs and hassocks) had been replaced or re-upholstered.. The carpet was also in great shape, not showing any wear. The cabin had more than enough room for all of our clothes. The balcony was very large. We were provided a coffee maker and Seattle's Best coffee and a hot pot for making tea, plus mugs, creamer and sweeteners. The cabin bathroom was standard size and had a bathtub. The air conditioning system in the cabin was really good. If you turned down the temperature it got colder pretty quickly. We had no complaints about the cabin at all. Our cabin steward did his job but I wouldn't say he did anything exceptional. We were completely satisfied with his service. NOTE ABOUT CABINS: This ship has some cabins that have a support pole in the middle of the cabin at the foot of the bed. The pole is about 8 inches round. I first found out about this from reading a blog about the ship. Then when we got on the ship we discovered that the cabin next to us, number 8092, was one of the cabins with this pole. Then I also saw the same thing in a cabin down the hall, 8056 if I remember correctly. So beware and ask when booking this ship if it would bother you to have a pole in your cabin. My best description of this cruise and ship is it's the bottom of the line of what Royal Caribbean provides. The ship lacks the many activities available on RC's newer ships. It has a rock climbing wall on the very back of the ship, but there is really no room for people to watch. The ship has a bungie-jump trampolines on the front of the ship but these were closed the entire cruise due to high winds; that's what the closed sign said. My question is what would you expect with that activity on the front of the ship. The only other activities were shuffle board and table tennis. The ship has a gym on the back of the ship, rather than on the front as with RC's newer ships. The gym provides the minimums. Its not that large and while it has elliptical, tread mills, free weights and some weight machines, its very small and crowded. I made just one trip there. The ship has a good walking track but it has a slight hill in the middle on each side where the ship was stretches several years ago. Walking on the promenade deck was good except that you could not circle the ship. The front section of the promenade deck is closed to passengers. The pools and hot tubs were good, including the solarium area. There were plenty of chairs available most of the time. The show room was not large enough to accommodate people for the shows. You had to get there about 30 minutes before the show to get a seat and the few shows we attended there were people standing in the back on both sides of the showroom. We missed a few shows because we couldn't find a seat. In addition, the sight lines are not good because the seats in the back of the showroom are not elevated enough for you to see well. The casino was satisfactory. It had some multi-line penny machines and well as nickle, quarter and dollar slots and table games. But the slots were not the latest that you'll find in Las Vegas and other on-shore gambling places. As usual we requested a table for two and they put us at a table for 10 or 12. So the first order of business when we boarded was to get that changed. We had no problem getting a table for 2 and even got one by the window. The dining room service was good. The menu's were standard RC fare. But we found the soups very bland and every day there were curried vegetable dishes that was not very good. The Food in the Windjammer was standard RC fare and it was good, but there was not much variety. Breakfasts and lunches had the same things each day. The Windjammer was about the only place to get a cup of coffee, tea, or iced tea and lemonade most of the day. The other eating places had limited open hours. The ship has what are called "automatic doors" that do not open automatically. You must push a button to open them. This caused problems for many guests who didn't know how to get the doors open. The elevators next to the atrium are a problem because they do not all go to all of the floors and they are not on the same call button. So you must puck the bottom for elevators on each side of the hallway. There are two elevators serving the Viking Crown Lounge and they were really hard to get. We went to the Cruise Critic/RC sponsored Meet & Mingle but didn't meet anyone. It appeared that a lot of people had conversed online and met on ships in their groups. There was no effort to have everyone meet everyone else. Very disappointed in this. On our stop in Labadee we heard from another passenger not to buy any of the canes or walking sticks. This was after I had already bought 3 of them. He said there was some type announcement on TV and/or in the Cruise Compass. Although I expected trouble the ship's security people did not raise any questions. I was a little perplexed by the warning as we had been on Labadee on a Celebrity cruise just a couple months ago, bought a cane and had no problems bringing it back home. However, we found out the real story when we got off the ship in Norfolk. We were directed to the APHIS inspectors, initially not told why, and then told because we had the canes. The Aphis person was really helpful in explaining that the problem with the sticks is they can sometimes have bugs. So she inspected them very closely and gave us a go ahead with them. This is a problem that RC, APHIS and the Haitians need to address by first of all explaining the whole issue with a flier that passengers will see, then arrange to have the canes sprayed before they leave Haiti, or tell the Haitians to stop selling them. So my bottom line on this cruise is I know that Royal Caribbean can do better and I will just not go on another Vision class ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
My family and I just got back from cruising on the Enchantment Of The Seas 6/12/10. It was a good time, food was good, shows were ok, service was good, cabin was clean, BUT it had it's issues. I would not recommend sailing in and out ... Read More
My family and I just got back from cruising on the Enchantment Of The Seas 6/12/10. It was a good time, food was good, shows were ok, service was good, cabin was clean, BUT it had it's issues. I would not recommend sailing in and out of Norfolk. Although downtown Norfolk is great with a lot to do within walking distance, the problem is the pier location to the parking. IT CAUSES MAJOR DELAYS. Boarding, I dropped the family and luggage off at the pier and drove the couple of miles to the cruise parking lot only to find out once I got there it was $15.00 per day VS $10.00 per day as advertised on RC web site. I had a long wait there as people were unloading their luggage, which had to be loaded onto the buses and transported down to the pier on the same buses, so this was not a quick process, as the family stood waiting for me at the pier for 40 minutes. The debarkation process was a complete disaster. We were supposed to disembark at 9AM, but we were not able to disembark until 10AM. Once we were able to get off the boat the luggage staging area was a mess with the disembarkation numbers butting right up to each other, people were practically walking on top of each other. And then again all luggage loaded on buses then a 2 mile drive to the parking lot and then unloaded. Needlessly to say this was why there was an hour delay getting off the ship. I have no royalty to Philadelphia (I'm from Ohio), but I sailed on Empress Of The Seas out of Philly and it went VERY SMOOTH. On the ship the Windjammer was over packed at breakfast time, with peak times not having enough seating. Deck 4 reeked of sewage smell the first 4 days, but after that I didn't smell it at all, our dining room table (412) was located in a bad spot where my shoulders got @ss rubbed all week by people passing by, and lastly I felt the shore excursions through the cruise line were way over priced for what you got in return. I know, I know, I have dwelled on the negatives with the glass half full. BUT AGAIN the food was good, the service was good, the shows were good, and the cabin was clean. Overall it was a good trip and everybody had a good time, and other than the shore excurions the cruise was a good value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
DH and I wanted to do something special for our 5th anniversary. We'd honeymooned on the QMII but wanted to try a different line this time around. Frankly, our immediate criteria was finding an embarkation port that was within a ... Read More
DH and I wanted to do something special for our 5th anniversary. We'd honeymooned on the QMII but wanted to try a different line this time around. Frankly, our immediate criteria was finding an embarkation port that was within a drivable distance from our home in Durham, NC. This led us to the port of Norfolk, VA, which in turn led us to considering Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas. After poking around a bit on Royal Caribbean's site, Cruise Critic, and on-line cruise booking sites, we settled on booking EOS for a 9 night Eastern Caribbean cruise departing May 20th 2010. As it turned out, I also contacted RCI a few times as we neared our sail date with a few specific questions regarding what we could or could not pack; plus, I utilized their web site to check in, print out Set Sail Passes, purchase a wine package, make an RSVP for the specialty restaurant (Chops Grille) and order a bottle of Champagne to be delivered to our stateroom on sail day. Everything turned out as expected. Knowing this, I'll not be quite so anal the next time we cruise ("quite"!) We stayed in Norfolk the night before we sailed at a B&B called The Freemason Inn (review on Trip Advisor). In short, I would not recommend this B&B but it was close to the pier so that was good. We arrived at the pier way too early; it was a bit chaotic with passengers getting off Enchantment, cars everywhere, porters going to and fro, and other people (like us) arriving, eager to get on board! DH parked the gar in one of Norfolk's public parking garages. This one was directly across the street from the pier (Plume Street). Word to the wise; all of the public garages switch to the same daily rate on sail day. We ended up paying $15 per day and had to pre-pay it (the day before, the rates were $12!) The boarding process was a breeze. Everyone was extremely helpful and the process moved along quickly. After going through check-in, we were ushered to a roped off waiting area. Coffee, tea and cookies were provided. We didn't have to wait long; they started boarding us around 11:00. DH and I were #3 and #4 on board (after taking the obligatory Welcome Aboard picture). Since we were #3 and #4 on board, it was obviously quite empty when we stepped aboard Enchantment; thus, we had an unique opportunity to look around and really see what she looked like. Although Enchantment is on the smaller side (although larger than she was after being "stretched" in 2005), we were impressed; she is a truly beautiful ship. We liked the open atrium area, the glass elevators, all of the sparkling polished chrome; it made an excellent first impression! Plus, everything was so clean and fresh (she'd just come out of dry dock in early May). We spent that first afternoon in the Windjammer area near the pool bar waiting to get into our stateroom. We were in by 1:00 pm; very reasonable. When we first arrived, our luggage was not all there but it showed up within a few minutes. Our bottle of Champagne was there on ice waiting for us and we eagerly explored the suite and unpacked. My Fair Lady Dining Room and Food in General We had the 2nd seating in the My Fair Lady dining room. We were originally assigned to a table for 12 in the middle of the bottom level. DH is a bit hard of hearing so he went to the Maitre'd and requested we be re-assigned to a smaller table in a quieter section of the room. They re-assigned us to a perfectly delightful table for two (by a window, no less) towards the rear of the dining room. We had no problem being in the back; in fact, we preferred it. We had excellent service by our waiter, Edmond and our assistance waiter, Clayton (not to mention Placid, who brought us our evening cocktail every night!) We ate in MFL all but one evening. In general, we found the food more than acceptable. There was always a decent selection of food; including options for low fat, low calories, low sugar, low sodium, etc. Each evening we had an appetizer, entrEe and dessert. Only once did I find something not to my liking. Many times, Edmond offered to bring us more than one of whatever we'd ordered and once he brought me two desserts because I couldn't make up my mind between them. We'd arranged to have one of the wine packages (in essence prepaid for 7 bottles of wine which turned out to be a better deal than buying a bottle each night in the dining room). Each evening, we were presented with the list of bottles to chose from (we'd opted for the middle of the road selections) and only one night was what we wanted out of stock and we had to request something else. My only issue with the dining room was that the dress code was not enforced. Many times, we saw people in the dining room wearing shorts, jeans, tank tops, etc., even on formal night. We're not snobs, but, we thought more attention should have been paid to this as it sort of took away from the elegance of the evening. There is always the Windjammer for those who don't want to dress for dinner. And speaking of the Windjammer, they actually enforced the dress code better than the main dining room! I wandered in there one afternoon looking for a snack and was told I had to go "cover up" (I had come in from the pool area and did not have a tee shirt on over my bathing suit). We ate in the Windjammer a few times for breakfast and lunch/afternoon snacks. The food was really good; fresh with a lot of options but, my, the crowds; people seemed to check their brains at the door, too). Also, I found it a bit off-putting when they'd shut down one side of the buffet an hour before it closed (getting ready for the next meal, I guess). It was amusing how quickly the bus boys snatched up any unused utensil, cup, plate, etc., off the tables! Better hold on to your self or they may snatch you up, too! Many afternoons we partook of the snacks over in the Solarium; pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, fresh fruit, cookies, etc.) We don't typically eat a lot of "junk" food but, man, were those French fries good! So good, in fact, that people started picking up the bin of them and dumping the entire contents on their plates. After that, the staff moved the French fries behind the pizza counter to be meted out a bit more equally! We also ordered room service several mornings. We delighted in this, too; since it was included in the rate and normally this is a luxury we don't indulge in. However, we did have a challenge trying to get the room service staff to understand we wanted TWO pots of coffee, even though ONE pot was supposed to serve two people (it didn't, unless you only require a cup and a half of coffee in the morning!) We paid the extra $25 per person to eat at Chops Grille one evening. This was DEFINITELY worth it; a step up in both food and service (and since the food and service in MFL was just fine; you can imagine how wonderful Chops Grille was!) Just imagine a typical, traditional Chop House in, say, Chicago or another big mid-western city, and, you'll have an idea of the food available in Chops Grille. Also, a fantastic wine list. Wrapping up food; we did not make it to the (one) midnight buffet they had. We typically did not finish up with our dinner until 10:30 or so. We just couldn't stuff any more food done that night! We only ate breakfast in MFL the morning we got off the ship. This was fine; nicer than the Windjammer in that is was a lot more civilized but breakfast was only served in there from 7-9 (or something like that) which was just too early for us throughout the cruise itself. Drinks A lot of people were griping beforehand that drinks on cruises are too expensive, especially the drink of the day; not to mention watered down. We didn't find them that expensive and the drink of the day (typically something with rum) was $5. Additionally, if you had a good poolside server (like we did with Placid), they were more than generous with the alcohol. We got a kick out of Dr. Yummy wandering around with a tray of cocktails announcing it was "Yummy yummy time" or, "Here is the medication for your vacation". Yeah, those were a bit steep; $7 or $8 BUT he'd gladly add a few extra shots of rum and you got to keep the "glass". In general, we stuck to beer, diet Coke and rum but we did imbibe in some of those frozen drinks on especially hot days. I fell in love with the frozen Mojitos. As previously mentioned, the wine list/packages were acceptable. The only "ouch" came in the form of spending almost $40 for two glasses of Champagne in the Champagne Bar one night. We did find it a bit odd that we were not able to take our half-consumed bottle of wine (from dinner) with us back to our room and yet it was perfectly fine for us to fill up our wine glasses to the brim and leave the dining room with them. Also, we were not able to order a bottle of Scotch or Cognac to have in our room for a night cap. That would have been nice, but, I suppose the idea is for you to be out in one of the lounges (we loved the Viking Crown Lounge and the Schooner Bar) or in the casino or at a show having drinks THERE. As far as non-alcoholic drinks, there was complimentary coffee, iced tea and lemonade pretty much every day, somewhere. There were both packages for all you can drink soda, too; plus, bottled water packages (we did end up paying $32 for eight large bottles of Evian, which were delivered to our stateroom). We ordered sodas a few times; about 1/2 the cost of a beer for a can of soda. Additionally, there was a Seattle's Best on board where we could have purchased lattes and the like; plus, a Ben and Jerry's (although with all that free dessert (including soft serve ice cream, why pa extra for that?) Service EVERYONE was wonderful. All of the staff always had smiles on their faces and were extremely helpful and pleasant. Our stateroom attendant, Esther, was excellent. We sure enjoyed seeing what towel creature we'd find in our stateroom each evening! Seriously, considering these folks sign on for 7 1/2 months and work 7 days a week, RCI must definitely be doing something right with regards to their employees. Next time I'm on board a RCI ship, I'd love to chat with their HR person! The only issue we had was when one of the waiters in the Spot Light Lounge one night got my Sea Pass card mixed up with someone else's. I didn't notice it until the next morning and went to Guest Relations to get it taken care of; no problem. Fellow Passengers Around the time we booked the cruise, I signed up for Cruise Critic and met several of our future fellow passengers via this forum. What a great experience; not only did I get several questions answered by these veteran cruisers, but, we organized an excursion together in Samana. Needless to say, all of these folks were wonderful. Ages ranged from late 20s (I'd say) to 70 or older. Initially, we thought the average age of fellow passengers was going to be 60 or more but it turned out this might have been because more senior folks were on board first (again, we were #3 and #4 on board). As the days went on, we adjusted the average age to be in the mid 30s to mid 40s. We didn't experience any issues with our fellow passengers save the minor irritations that arise from simply having so many people in one confined space at once. Yes, there were a few rude, pushy, loud, annoying or obtuse folks on board, but, definitely the exception, NOT the norm. All in all we loved Enchantment of the Seas. We're sorry that she is no longer sailing out of Norfolk but hope one day we'll catch her again. The RCI experience was fantastic; truly, it rivaled the QMII at about 1/2 the price. Who needs those white gloves, anyway? We were so "Enchanted" with RCI that we've already booked our next cruise with them on Radiance of the Seas next January. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Just a little background on my self and family, we are experienced cruises with RCCL and other companies. One cruise away from platinum on RCCL but have been on Disney, NCL and Carnival. So we have seen it all and this review is my opinion ... Read More
Just a little background on my self and family, we are experienced cruises with RCCL and other companies. One cruise away from platinum on RCCL but have been on Disney, NCL and Carnival. So we have seen it all and this review is my opinion but little things go a long way. Embarkation, Norfolk, VA, Well we have driven to many ports before, Miami, Baltimore and Port Canaveral and this was just awful. The price on the website for cruise terminal parking said 10/day well it changed to 15/day when we arrived, and we checked the day before. We could have parked across the street for the same price if we would have know, or stayed at a hotel for cheaper too. Check into that if you come to this port as there are cheaper options. We were in line out to the street at 1130am and were not parked and luggage offloaded until about 1230. Once parked we were on the shuttle quickly and this is where the fun began. The shuttle was about 1.5 blocks away with mediocre AC and just sitting in traffic. The terminal drop off was having issues getting cars and busses in and once in we were the 4 or 5th bus in line and instructed to stay on. At this point we were on the bus for 45 mins to go about 6-10 blocks and just talked our way off to go get in line for check-in. Check-in was quick and easy, but this was eased as we are plat. cruisers so front of the line pass. We were on the ship about 2pm and were able to get to the room and drop off the luggage since the delay getting on. Dining: We had requested early seating on booking through RCCL and were given late so we went straight to the DR to get this changed. Well we were not alone as we saw the list had us about 20 in line so far for a table change. The first night we were asked to eat late and then they would try and make a change. Well on day two we were notified that we were indeed moved so we made the change. Well this probably was not the best option as the room was way to crowded and noisy as the room was packed with extra tables. One thing I know they don't want to do but sometimes RCCL needs to is not facilitate the moves. Crowding the early seating had a snowball effect on other issues like show seating. We normally eat in the MDR for all meals but dabble in the WJ as well just to try other options. First thing I noticed was that having early seating was service was very slow, and I think this was to so many people being in the MDR. Waiters couldn't walk around the table because we were sitting back to back at some locations so this slowed things down too. Food was OK, but not great and some days just plain awful. There was a cod catch of the day and 4 people got it at the table and nobody finished, and my fathers had bones still in the fish. One other thing was the menu had cannelloni on Italian night yet they were out of the noodles so they substituted for tortellini. That is fine, but the very next night tortellini was on the menu and it came out as ravioli, were they not aware of the next days menu and shouldn't ravioli substituted instead. Just little things that can be corrected to make a better experience RCCL has done this same trip many times out of Baltimore so they have an idea of what is needed. Lastly by day 4 they were out of V8 juice, just not really sure how that can happen too, seems to be a staple to me. Also on the last lunch in the WJ they ran out of food items too. Entertainment: Was good and normal cruise fare, some comedy, jugglers, magician, musicians and cruise line dancers. Nothing was bad they were all good and a variety of shows so you can get whatever you like. One thing that we noticed was seating was packed every night and you needed to be there 30 mins before to get a good seat and 10mins before you were standing. I think this was brought on because they packed the early MDR and thus packed the theater with all these guests. So if you are a late person getting to shows this could be a problem, you will know the first couple of days. On to the pool entertainment was very good. The band that they have on deck was good, only wish they started earlier. They would come out around 1230 for 30 mins and would break until 4-430 and play again. Just think they should have been out there more earlier instead of after 5 as most people were getting ready to eat after 5pm. But they were very good and could play almost anything with a reggae flair. lastly the Casino was nice and as always the staff were superb. This is one department that never lets me down. Ports/Excursions: I go into this in more detail below but for us the ship is the destinations and sometimes we get off and sometimes we don't. The stops we have been to before so knew what to expect when it came to getting off the ship. There was only one tender stop in Samana and this was a little disorganized. If you have a ship excursion you meet in the spotlight lounge and get your tender ticket, normal for all cruises. But everyone on a ship excursion goes there and no matter when you tell them to go up there people will be early and crowd the room or entrance. So this caused a little trouble which the ship could change and say have half go to the theater and half to the spotlight lounge, but I think they will get this as time goes on. Even though we were anchored early there was trouble getting going and non ship excursions didn't begin until 12-1230p. So be aware, but I think they had trouble with the ships water doors and once fixed it was fine, so maybe this was isolated. Ports that we went to were nice, enjoyed the beach at St Thomas (sapphire) and Labadee. Labadee is my favorite stop and if the ship just stayed here for 4 days I would be happy but private stops are not for everyone. Disembarkation: Did the express check off and went smooth with no issues was off the ship at about 8-9am not sure on the exact time, but was smooth. They asked passengers with express to wait in the rooms until called but that didn't happen people started lining up at 730 but otherwise was smooth as checkout could have been. Once through customs loaded bags on shuttle and waited until the bus was about half full and were off to the parking. Was quick and were to our car quickly and off to our 3.5 hour drive home. Ship: Enchantment is an older ship, but we enjoy this class ship as it is not too big but has almost everything the bigger ships do as well. The ship was expanded about 5 years ago and maybe this added to some of the crowding issues but not so sure about that, we were on the Grandeur in Oct and never any crowding issues on that one so maybe so. The ship just came out of dry dock and the pool deck was all new with teak and imitation teak so that was nice, but no new pool chairs. Couldn't really tell on many other changes in dry dock as I think most occurred below the water line. Lastly there was never an issue with getting deck chairs as everyone was respectful and not many chair hogs on this cruise. Overall: Well we enjoyed the cruise and it is just little issues that can be fixed to make a great cruise. I enjoy cruising and want everyone else to enjoy it too, so when I see small things rubbing people it bugs me, because I know this isn't always the case. I don't like to hear people say they will never cruise with RCCL again, so just little details could change peoples opinion for a positive one. We will cruise again and since this ship is coming out of Baltimore permanent we will probably be traveling her again in the future. I know the review seems negative, but seems we always remember those. But there were good things as well, stops love them all, you get a nice variety and different things to do at all of them. The length and price cant be beat and that is why we like this 9nt cruise so much and the ship really is our destination when we take this cruise. Food was ok, but would like to have a variety of lunch menu, it was the same everyday in the MDR. Overall I give this cruise a 3.5/5 so not bad but room for improvement. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
The boarding process in Norfolk was clearly the worst part of the trip. It took us about 3 hours from the time we entered the parking lot (sat there for 1 hour) until we got to our cabin. It was a long, painful process! Although, as I ... Read More
The boarding process in Norfolk was clearly the worst part of the trip. It took us about 3 hours from the time we entered the parking lot (sat there for 1 hour) until we got to our cabin. It was a long, painful process! Although, as I understand it, Royal Caribbean will no longer be going out of Norfolk. Next cruise we plan to try Baltimore. Enchantment of the Seas, although clearly an older ship, was very comfortable and we enjoyed it. We ended up in the Champagne Lounge when we finally got on the ship. It turned out to be our favorite hang out in the evenings -- our waitress, Carol, knew our name from the first day on -- she was great. Our room was comfortable and clean. We had previously always requested a balcony, but this cruise elected to try an outside room with a window. We didn't regret our decision at all -- didn't miss the balcony at all. For dining we chose the "My Time" dining. It was great. We do not like to have to eat at an assigned time and this really worked well for us. We would clearly do this again. We also purchased the "wine package" which is much cheaper that buying wine by the glass in the bars. Be careful, however, because the only place you can order your bottle of wine is in the dining room or the Windjammer Cafe. The only real complaint that we had was the casino. It was so smoky that we didn't go back after we walked through on the first day. The ventilation system was terrible. You could smell the cigarette smoke in the hallways long before you got to the casino entrance. They did have a couple of non-smoking nights but the smoke was so heavy it didn't matter that no one was smoking at the time. We were a little disappointed because we enjoy the slots. The entertainment was good on the ship. Our favorite of the week was the "Tap Dancing Grannies" from Colonial Heights, VA. They were AWESOME! The food was good but not wonderful. We notice some subtile downgrades since our last cruise (6 years ago on Navigator). The deserts were dramatically less impressive. The menu for dinner seemed to have a lot of strange items -- at least strange to us. The lobster and prime rib, however, was excellent. Overall, Enchantment of the Seas is a nice ship. We will definitely go on it again. We love being able to drive to our port and not have to worry about planes, etc. We had a very relaxing trip and look forward to next summer when we plan to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
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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