2 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
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
Enchantment of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 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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