Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Enchantment of the Seas
Sailing Date: May 14th, 2000
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Ship: Enchantment of the Seas
You must cruise on the Royal Caribbean, Enchantment of the Seas. This was my first cruise and it was everything I imagine it could be and more. My long time friend went with me and we had a blast! So imagine two “40 something” year old broads on their first cruise or vacation together. We didn’t miss a step! Well, maybe the all nighter stuff!
First let me start with itinerary: We chose the Eastern Caribbean which on this trip included St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau. I’m a water baby who sold my 27 ft. Sea Ray Cruiser last summer and the first thing I did was start looking for a cruise line and the Virgin Islands to take my first real vacation from home (Texas). Our first port was St. Maarten. I was a little disappointed but you must know I chose a catamaran snorkeling excursion which left the port at 9 a.m. in St. Maarten. So when we got off of the catamaran we didn’t have a lot of time to go looking around the island of St. Maarten. We quickly hit about a 5 block square area and had to get back to the ship. I just expected more for some reason. But ewe-la-la the water there was something else. I’ll tell you about the excursions later.
Next port was St. Thomas. Had another early morning excursion (snorkeling) and then went into town. Loved St. Thomas and want to go back soon! It was much cleaner and we did some serious shopping. Maybe it was because it was American. But we liked it much better. Next time I want to do some site seeing of the island. But this time I wanted the water experience. Will go back here for sure!
The last port was Nassau. Loved Nassau. It was so cool coming into the “boat slip” there. Got to see a bunch of other cruise liners – Walt Disney’s Magic, Sovereign of the Seas, Voyager and so forth. Really cool to compare them. We could not get to Nassau until about 10:30 and couldn’t disembark until 11 a.m. and it was our final day and we had a final excursion which was at 2 p.m. that afternoon. So you can see NOT ENOUGH TIME. Our excursion was 3 hours and wasn’t to get us back until 5 and our last night seating in the dining room was at 6. So we felt shorted and definitely want to go back to Nassau and check out the island(s)! Let me add right here we definitely preferred the 6 to 8 seating. The 8:30 to 10:30 was just to late in the evening.
Excursions: We bought an excursion in every port. The first one in St. Maarten was nice catamaran sailing/snorkeling trip. But it was more of a sailing trip to one of the French Islands (uninhabited) rather than snorkeling so we didn’t bother. Nothing to see but the sandy bottom and with such clear water you didn’t need to snorkel. The catamaran was 65 ft. with an 80 ft. mast and was beautiful. They beached the boat for us to get off and enjoy the beach area. Free drinks and some snacks were furnished. Being French we encountered some nude bathers from another catamaran, but who cares. The beach was beautiful. And one of the wild goats came up and we gave her water and ice. She was so cute. Got some great pictures.
The second was in St. Thomas . A sailing snorkeling excursion. Again on a catamaran; not as new as the one in St. Maarten but again who cares; you’re in such beautiful water. We anchored off a French island. The snorkeling there was not that good, but loving water the way I do, it didn’t bother me that much. My friend had never snorkeled so the female instructor worked with her for 15-20 minutes and she got more comfortable in the water but hung close to me. I ventured off a little to some rocks and saw a few more fish in that area – a couple of crabs, sea urchins and the such.
The third excursion was in Nassau . Wonderful is all I can say. Much better snorkeling this time. They anchored out by a reef and fed the fish so we saw much more here underwater. I just can’t tell you how beautiful those fish were. The folks who had taken scuba classes were with us getting their certification that day so we got to watch them and that was cool. Next time I’m going for a diving certification – I love being under water! I took lots of under water pictures here but I haven’t seen them. My travel buddy called me last night to say the underwater pictures were spectacular. She got scared out in the deeper water and had gone back to the boat and didn’t get to see the beautiful colored fish. But she says the pictures told the story. Will go back to Nassau for sure.
I wanted to do it all, island stuff and snorkeling but there just isn’t time! Next time I will take only one snorkeling excursion and spend more time checking out the islands! And I will only snorkel where they are taking us to reefs. Much more to see in that environment. But you have to see that beautiful water! Coming from Texas, the water is not that color or that clear so this was impressive!
The ship: Royal Caribbean, Enchantment of the Seas .I’m pretty picky but my bedroom or bathroom have never been that clean except maybe when my house was built. That ship is immaculate! They keep it spic-n-span clean. They were always cleaning and even painting places on the outside when we were in port! One time I saw a guy hanging in some kind of support, painting the frame that was supporting a life boat! The auditorium where all of the shows were held was beautiful. The dining room was spectacular! The Centrum was spectacular. The lounges were spectacular. The staff was spectacular. I just can’t say enough about that ship.
The Staff: They couldn’t do enough for you! Our steward, Ricardo from Trinidad was the best. He took care of our every need. Our stateroom was cleaned every time we left. He always had a new bucket of ice for us when we came to the room. Anything we wanted he got for us and was always asking if there was something he could do or if we needed anything. We definitely tipped him more than the “customary, suggested” amount at the end of the trip! Our waiter in the My Fair Lady Dining room, Jorge from Portugal, was the best! We tried our best to get him to come back to Texas with us; especially my travel buddy, but he needed to go home to Portugal to see his little boy! So we wished him a good and safe trip when he went home in June. He worked his little hiney off that entire week taking care of us. He got more than the “suggested tip amount” too! And the assistant waiter, Jacob. . . unbelievable. Once he knew our preferences for dinner we never had to ask for anything. They must train those folks to watch your every breath. And they had us down pat! Two lemons in your tea, hot tea or coffee with dessert, and on and on! We had a good Head Waiter but you didn’t see him that much. But I’m sure he was keeping things going behind the scenes. He liked us Texas girls and was always asking how things were and if there was something they could do better to serve us. That is how it went all week. All of the staff we encountered were excellent.
Ship Activities: I tell you this! Next time I won’t try to do everything every day! I was wasted when I got home. We went from about 6 a.m. until at least midnight every night. And we only stopped then because we just couldn’t go any more. And yet we just knew we were probably missing something then! There is so much to do all day every day and night! The evening shows were superb! The lead performer for the week, Gary Puckett, didn’t cut it with our early show crowd. He wouldn’t even come out for an encore when the Cruise Director gave him the lead in to come back on stage. I don’t know if it was because it was later in the week and everyone was so tired or what. But the other performers were so good; especially a guy who’s last name is Behr – a comedy/singer – entertainer of the year in Las Vegas. And I don’t care for comics! He was the best! Royal Caribbean’s entertainment group of dancers and singers were absolutely dynamic. I mean first class performers. Chris Lane is a wonderful cruise director and his staff were just as good!
Food: Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. If you went hungry you had a personal problem. If you didn’t like any of the five entrée choices for the evening you have steak, rosemary chicken or salmon, baked potato, mashed potatoes, or rice and their veggies to choose from. They covered everything. Four course meals at noon and in the evenings if you ate in the My Fair Lady dining room! The Windjammer which I had read on the Internet that wasn’t suppose to be that good . . . we thought was good. So I would say it comes down to your personal food preferences. There was always variety. The Captain’s Gala Midnight Buffet was a shocker. I’ve never seen food put together and displayed so magnificently. It was astounding. You could take pictures from 11:30 p.m. – 12:15 a.m. that evening and the buffet was at 12:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. – we made the picture taking but were in bed during the buffet! It was just beautiful. I was so impressed! It’s just hard to believe they can do so much on a ship.
Embarking/Disembarking: Embarking was slow to me. Maybe I was over anxious to get on board. But you went from one great big room to another huge room, and then into another huge area and stood in line there to see a RC person to get your RC card for the week, and then to the ship. But when you hit the ship there were people to help you go where you needed to go and when you got out of the elevator on your deck there were more people to show you to your cabin and already offering you drinks! Disembarking was a breeze. We just went to the auditorium and when they called our colored ticket (based on when your flight was leaving Ft. Lauderdale), we headed to the appropriate deck and they sent you right out to get our luggage. Customs was nothing. I didn’t even notice those folks. I’m sure they were there somewhere. I just to tired after this marathon fun week, to pay attention. Finding our luggage was a breeze and a porter was there to help us to the bus. Buy the RC tickets to and from the airport. That's makes things a breeze too! Simple and easy. When we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, RC reps were there at the gate to tell us where to go and what to do! Wonderful!
Disappointments: I was disappointed in the reflexology massage I bought – much to pricey and in the long run not worth it. Had to have some nails fixed and it is way expensive and they only had one girl who could do acrylics, and she worked in a hurry and the result wasn’t something I was pleased with at all. But to me that is not directly involved with the cruise! These were ancillary to the cruise so this is just a tip to others to think about. Everything else was above reproach!
Finally, I just have to say that I highly recommend taking a cruise and take it on the Royal Caribbean, Enchantment of the Seas. It is a must do! I will look to them first for my next cruise, next spring ! ! !