Age: 31 to 40
Occupation:Media Research/College Instructor
Number of Cruises: 6 to 10
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Enchantment of the Seas
Sailing Date: November 19th, 2000
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
The cabins are on the small side, but it's not too bad; they're very well designed. Even with 4 to a room, we weren't overly cramped. The bathroom was tiny, and the shower provided some challenges (shaving my legs: point the sprayer toward the shower wall, open shower curtain, place leg on toilet lid, lather and shave carefully). All-in-all though, the accommodations were just fine.
We all loved the ship. While there are some spots on some of the carpeting, it's clean and well-kept. Whomever designed the interior did a great job. It's really a pretty, pretty ship. As you wander the ship, you come upon what I call "surprise artwork." You turn a corner, and there's a nifty sculpture. You walk down a hall and see breath-taking prints. There's a great sculpture made out of tin right outside the kids' clubs on deck 10. Even if you don't have kids, it's worth a trip up there to check it out.
The dining room was gorgeous, and we thought the idea of the 2-level room was ingenius. Instead of one long room, which would have seemed more industrial, the dining room was nicely laid-out. Unlike some of the previous reviewers, we enjoyed the food in the dining room. The soups were outstanding, the salads were fresh, the steaks I ordered arrived cooked as asked. A great bonus was the soda that came gratis with meals. I am a cola-aholic, so I loaded up duing mealtime. We had 2 vegetarians in our group and the staff took good care of them. There were vegetarian entrees, and for the more stringant vegan with us, the kitchen created incredible salads and fruit plates. My 10 year-old stuck with the grown-up menu, but my 8 year-old (Mr. Hot Dog, Pizza, and grilled cheese) ordered exclusively off the children's menu. His biggest complaint was that they didn't have grape jelly on board. The biggest complaint of the grown-ups was the coffee. It really didn't taste good. A couple of times we ordered the cappucino ($1.50 a cup) to have good-tasting coffee. Other reviews panned the desserts- we were pleased with what we had. Whenever we ordered something we didn't like, our waiter noticed and brought something else. I thought our waiter was great, but some of the others in our party thought he rushed us a bit. We had early seating (main seating), so I think that may have had something to do with it.
Our cabin steward wasn't overly gregarious, but he did his job well. He didn't go very far above and beyond duty for us, but our cabin was cleaned twice a day. To his credit though, one evening I was having a crying meltdown (hard time with the kids and I had reached a breaking point) in the cabin, when our steward knocked on the door to ask if I was alright and if I needed anything.
My kids had a great time during their activities. They were in two different age groups, and enjoyed their time apart. My daughter (the 10 year-old) felt very grown-up doing scavenger hunts, which her brother was too young to do. The kids activites are fun--they have lots of weird science experiments, and plenty of messy time. One evening, I was in the casino and there was a chanting of "we protest. we protest," followed by stomping feet. It was the smaller kids (my son right in the thick of it) dressed up as pirates parading around the ship chanting about taking over. What fun!!! Group baby-sitting is available evenings from 10pm-1am and while the ship is in port from noon-5pm, BUT there is a charge for these hours: $4 per hour per kid. We took advantage of that one port day, but made sure to get the kids back with us by 10pm. The baby-sitting charge is cash only and is not charged to your supercard.
None of us participated too heavily in activities, except bingo. By the last day, the coverall jackpot was over $9,600 (it was won by 3 people the last afternoon). The activities staff were very energetic and enthusiastic.
I saw just a couple of the shows. One was a singing/dancing review called "Sweet Dreams." It was nicely done, and even stunning considering we had hit a patch of rough seas, so these dancers were doing their show when the ship was rolling pretty badly.
Impressionist Fred Travelena was one of the entertainers. His show wasn't great, which surprised me, seeing how he was a "name" act.
There was a magic show from LaRaf. These guys were great. It's not simply pulling rabbits out of a hat, there's a lot of music and illusion. It's a very entertaining show.
Speaking of those rough seas, we had 3 days where we were dogged by bad weather. Because of this, many shore excursions in Cozumel were cancelled, including the dolphin encounter, which disappointed us greatly. That was the afternoon we left the kids in the kids' club and wandered ashore without them. I can see how Cozumel could be great if the weather co-operates---there are water sports galore. We did some shopping there, but it was dirty and crowded, so we bought some souveniers and went back to the ship.
We had better luck at the other stops. We did a glass-bottom boat tour in Key West. The kids liked it. We also wandered around town a bit.
In Grand Cayman, we wanted to do the Stingray City tour, but because of bad weather, a different tour was substituted. We ended up on a glass-bottom boat (on the side of the island with decent weather), which took us over 2 shipwrecks (that was cool), and my kids spotted stingrays in the sand, and we saw a coral reef. After the boat ride, we went to the turtle farm. The kids loved that, especially holding some turtles. Afterward, we went to Hell, which exists solely for tourists to spend money. Skip Hell, it's not worth it. When we got back to town, we shopped a little bit and then, upon recommendation of the bus driver, went to lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Big mistake! That place is VERY VERY VERY expensive!
My children stayed on board ship with their Aunt when the ship was in Jamaica. That was at my insistance because of Jamaica's reputation of being dangerous. At the dock entrance, there is a gate and beyond the gate there was a throng of shouting men. When I asked about it, I was told that these men were vying for fares-they were taxis drivers. Because making money is hard, these people arrive at the pier at 5am to get in line to receive a number and get called into the gated area. There were literally hundreds of men shouting to get our attention so we'd bypass the system and walk out to get one of them to drive us. We stayed inside the gate and our taxi was brought to us. "Wilson" was our driver, a congenial man who took us to the beach, waited for us, and then took us to the shopping plaza, and returned us to the ship when we were finished. We loaded up on Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, but sadly had to made do with the ship's coffee until we arrived home.
My biggest complaint about the Enchantment of the Seas is with the breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer Cafe on deck 9. The buffet lines are set up at the entrances, with very little manuvering room. You walk in, are handed your tray with plate, and silverware, select your food and them find a table. Several times we were wandering aimlessly around the room searching for an open table. Not only did the food get cold, but full trays get heavy! Later in the week, we got wise and found our table before we got our food, but them we had that one person we left at the table not able to eat in sync with the rest of us. What I'd like to see is maybe the buffet lines moved to another part of the room, or maybe after you've filled your tray, having a staff member guide you to an open table.
Also, easy to miss, but worth hunting for: the sandwiches in the Windjammer: they're on the bar behind the piano. Sometimes they were the best thing available for lunch.
We enjoyed the pool area, and had no problem with people reserving chairs, but we prefered to sit in the shade.
When the ship got back to Florida, the disembarking process was well-organized. You are called to disembark by the color of your luggage tag, which is determined by when your flight out is on Sunday. We had done our own flight booking and were leaving Monday, so we were the last group called. That was fine with us. We went to the kids' area and played video games until the request for all guests to leave was announced. I don't know why people herded by the exits and on deck 5. It was so peaceful to just hang out elsewhere until it was time to go.
All in all, we had a great vacation. I'd rate my experience on the Enchantment an 8 out of 10, and would love to travel on her again, or try another Royal Carribean ship. The kids were taken care-of, my parents were taken care-of, the high-maintenance eaters in the group were takent care-of. We could not ask for much more!