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Debbie

Age: 55

Occupation:teacher

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Enchantment of the Seas

Sailing Date: June 7th, 2004

Itinerary: Western Caribbean


We decided to become "cruisers" due to our daughter deciding to do a wedding on the Enchantment of the Seas. So, here is our dream vacation:

We drove to Fort Lauderdale from Indiana (21 hours in the car!). My husband and I and daughter and son-in-law were in one mini-van with all the luggage and the wedding dress. Following behind were our other daughter (the bride-to-be) and her fiance. Thanks to walkie-talkies and a portable dvd player, the time went fast. When we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, we registered at the Embassy Suites on 17th street. It was fabulous there. The service was great, the happy hour was wonderful, and the breakfasts were outstanding! The next day we drove to the airport (a 5 minute drive) to pick up the groom's mother and sister and brother-in-law. That night we walked across the street to the Outback Restaurant for our "rehearsal dinner". What a relaxing 2 days after driving for 2 days!

On Monday, June 7th, we packed both cars and drove to Port Everglades. We dropped off our luggage at 10:00 (we had early arrival due to the wedding). The guys parked the cars in the parking garage ($12.00 a day per car). We sat in the terminal with all of our wedding stuff when our wedding consultant from Royal Romance showed up. She gave us a quick overview of what we could expect and asked the kids some questions about the ceremony and then we were taken to the front of the embarkation line with another wedding party to wait. After about 15 minutes, they let us go through security. This was a piece of cake. We put all our carry-on stuff through the x-ray machine and got our first "official photograph" taken...these are on-sale in the photo shop on ship later. Next, we showed our passports and got our seapasses and the next thing we knew we were walking up the walkway to get onboard the ship.

Because we were with a wedding party, we immediately were able to get into our cabins (other passengers had to wait for a while, so they just sat in lounges or wandered the ship). After dropping our carry-on luggage and wedding clothes in the room, we went to the Windjammer Buffet to get something to eat before the wedding. WOW!! Pork loin, poached salmon, prime rib, sandwich bar, fruits, vegetables, dessert bar...it was unbelievable. We then went to our cabins to change. The cabins were great. We were on the 7th deck and had balcony cabins. The groom's family were on the 8th deck and had inside cabins. All the cabins had plenty of storage and the beds were so comfortable.

We dressed for the wedding and went to the Viking Crown Lounge for the ceremony. Everything about the wedding was perfect, except our daughter had requested a minister from Fort Lauderdale and had paid extra money for this, but ended up getting married by a wedding coordinator who was a minister. I felt we kind of got the shaft on this, but Gina at Royal Romance refused to give us this $200 back....oh well.

After the wedding we changed and settled in for our cruise. We had our "muster drill" and everyone on ship is required to put on their life jackets and report to their lifeboat station. Our daughter wore her wedding dress for this...great photo opportunity! Then, we got some drinks (you are charged 15% gratuity on all drinks) and watched the ship leave port. The first dinner (we had first seating) was casual night. We had gotten our luggage by 3:00 pm., but there were still some people that didn't have their luggage. Be sure to pack things in your carry-on in case you can't get your luggage by dinner.

Our waiter was Adrian (from Romania). We had a table for the 9 of us and it was the greatest experience for the 9 of us "first cruisers". Adrian seated us, put the napkins in our lap, and gave us the most wonderful service. He was so wonderful the entire week. The food was excellent. We tried everything...escargo, shrimp, lobster, steak, duck, catfish, salmon, mahi-mahi, grilled chicken...and everything was great. The desserts were out of this world. The appetizer, Strawberry cosumme was our favorite. My daughter got this for dessert one night! The waiters singing and dancing for us was great and while we first cringed about "having to tip", we ended up giving him extra tips added to the suggested tips on our seapass cards. he was so wonderful. My daughter wanted to get his address so she could send him a baby gift (his wife was 5 months pregnant back in Romania).

Other meals....we ate breakfasts in both the dining room and Windjammer. The Windjammer's made to order omlets were my husband's favorite. I loved the fruit and french toast. Lunches were great also...we usually did the buffet again.

Entertainment: Matt Baker, the cruise director was fantastic. The comedy and other entertainment was great. We missed the one night (Thursday) due to very high seas and seasickness on my part. I wore the "patch" the entire time, but I still was sick that night...as were many other people onboard.

While onboard, we tried our hands at slot machines and blackjack (set a limit of what you want to lose). We went to the karaoke shows, but there was a group of 18 year olds who had just graduated from Georgia. There were about 50 of them and they were drunk most of the time and took over the karaoke shows. They were pretty annoying. My big negative was the smoking in the dance clubs and lounges. Hard to breathe even in the no-smoking sections.

The pool was crowded. Supposedly the "indoor" pool had a retractable roof, but it was always closed and usually was pretty hot. But we always were able to find deck chairs by the outdoor pool and it was fun to people watch.

Excursions: We went to Key West. It was way too short of a time there. We went to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for lunch. Then we did some shopping. The next day we went to Cozumel and did the Playa Sol Beach Club. We took taxi's there and for $28.00 a person we got to swim, use the floats, chairs, and got all the drinks we wanted. It was a great way to relax. The last day was Belize City. This was a waste of time as far as we were concerned. All we did was shop here and there were armed guards at the gates to the shopping area. We didn't snorkle, so I wish we would have chosen a different cruise port-of-call. Since the boat was anchored outside of Belize City, we had to be tendered in on small boats. My husband and I got soaking wet on the way back.

Thursday night was the night we got into a storm and had 10 foot waves. The ship moved from side to side, drawers opened up in the room during the night while we were sleeping, and thankfully I had taken bonine for everyone to take. I wore the patch and my relief band bracelet and still threw up! but, on Friday, I was fun. I loved the day at sea.

My favorite part of the cruise was coming into ports each morning. It was wonderful to watch each port come into view.

Friday night we put our luggage into the hall and we stayed up late and partied. The next morning we were out of our rooms by 8:30 and ready to leave the ship. Since we had driven we were the last group off the ship, but it was so much fun to watch everyone leaving the ship.

What a great wedding and a great vacation. By the way, we had a reception for 300 people last week for the bride and groom. The video and pictures from Royal Romance turned out great and was a wonderful reminder of our tirip.

We are ready to cruise again.

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