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