Royal Caribbean InternationalEnchantment the Seas ReviewWestern CaribbeanMegan MacGillis
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Enchantment of the Seas
Sailing Date: June 18th, 2007
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
Royal Caribbean International
Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review
Our decision to sail on the Enchantment was influenced by immediate family members’ excellent recommendations from sailings on another Voyager class ship (Explorer). We chose to ignore secondhand comments from people who had never actually sailed before but has “heard” that one cruise line was better than another.
Recent renovations must account for upgrades in our cabin such as the newer shower door, metal wine bucket, and updated linens on the bed. After reading Berlitz, and other comments on this website from earlier sailings on this ship, I was expecting a less than average room. Boy were we wrong! The cabin exceeded our expectations. Everything was spotless and fresh. There were spaces tucked everywhere for extra storage and our four LARGE suitcases fit easily under the bed, which is more than you can say for most hotel rooms. Housekeeping services were better than any luxury chain we’ve stayed at, which includes Fairmont and Hilton hotels. Our friendly cabin attendant Dianne only knocked on our door once on the first day to introduce herself and then she quietly took care of our every need without being seen again. We wanted complete linen changes twice during our five night stay and she complied. She also changed our soggy pool towels one evening during turn down service and we hadn’t even thought of asking her for that (we had looked on deck for the towel exchange at the pool but they were out of new towels so we thought we’d just dry them overnight). We had “friends” waiting for us on the bed three times (a monkey, an elephant, and a sting ray). Plenty of chocolates too. Delightful
Let me start from the
beginning concerning check-in, each day of the cruise, and disembarkation. Since
this was our first cruise, not just our first time on Enchantment, we had
prepared for the worst. We’d heard about long lines, rude porters, and other
inconveniences but we didn’t have a notably bad experience. We flew into Ft.
Lauderdale the day before the ship sailed just to make sure we had enough time
to get to the port (which was a good choice due to USAir losing one of our
bags). We saw a few families scrambling to collect their things and make a
transfer on time for their cruise line (Princess) as their ship was about to
leave. I am glad we avoided a scene. When we arrived at the port the next day to
board the ship, we had not gotten luggage tags sent to us by mail, so we had to
ask for them from a porter and then fill them out ourselves (our shuttle driver
from the hotel had already taken our bags off his truck and we did have to wait
to get a porter’s attention). As you can imagine, no porter tip was necessary-
we pretty much had to do everything for him. When we got inside, the directions
were clear regarding where to walk and what to fill out. The line flowed
smoothly, no waiting necessary. This was at about 11:30 AM. There were a few
hundred people arriving then as well.
Inside the ship, we were
greeted with a map of the decks and we started walking around. We immediately
ran and made reservations for Chops, but it turns out there were plenty of
tables available. We also bought one unlimited drink package for my husband,
“the Coke drinker”. At 1:00, we went to our stateroom and looked around. Since
it was raining by then, we could not go swimming but we had lunch at the
Windjammer instead and then watched the boat pull away form the dock. After
that, our bags had arrived so we went back to our room to unpack and prepare for
the drill. After the drill, we got ready for dinner (second seating) and had
drinks and looked around some more before going into the dining room. We also
went to the welcome show with the comedian magician. We tried the slots at the
casino but we blew through $20 so fast, it was not worth it. We like the penny
slots at Vegas because you can sit and drink and play for a while. We were a
little hungry by about 11:30, but we forgot that Solarium is open until late. We
keep looking around for a place to grab munchies but the only things we saw were
the midnight bites being passed around on trays occasionally. There should be
more specific foods available like, "Fresh muffins at Schooner at 11pm!". We had
friends tell us later in the week that one night there were sandwiches in the
casino - if we’d known, we would have gone that night! A note about the food
services - the cohesiveness and experience of the main dining room staff was
excellent from Day 1. Though portions are modest, the availability of extra
servings kept everyone satisfied. Our waiter, Antonio, was amazing and he told
us he could get us whatever we wanted. The wine and dine packages need to be
better explained to new guests onboard. The waiter at Chops on Day 4 was the
only person who took the time to explain that they could send a half finished
bottle of wine to our table the next night to have with dinner in the dining
room. We would have bought more bottles of wine for meals if we had known. My
only other complaint about the dining services regards room service. This is
funny! The night before our day at Coco Cay, we filled out the room service
breakfast card and it was promptly picked up from our door handle while we were
at dinner. I put a tip on the desk and laid out my robe so I’d be ready when the
door knocked since it is pitch black dark at night and there’s no clock in the
room either. So, the door knocks and I wake up to go fetch the meal. Only, when
I come inside the room, I realize that not only is it the wrong meal, it's 3
AM!!! I sent the tray back to the hallway and called room service to make sure
our breakfast was still on order for a few hours later. My husband still laughs
about this. RCI is lucky they didn’t wake up some grumpy old lady…I was very
good natured about it and found it very amusing. Hope whoever ordered a sandwich
and French fries at 3AM finally got their munchies!!
On days 2, 3, and 5, we went ashore for tours and excursions. Our favorite was the dune buggy ride through Cozumel. This was hands down one of the most fun days of our lives. We got to see the whole island, stop for a little shopping and some “pee pee station” pit stops, and try snorkeling for a mini-lesson at a local beach. But it was the Mexican lunch and swim at a private beach that was truly unforgettable. Eating snacks under a hut while we listen to waves crashing and friends playing volleyball was the best treat we could have imagined. It was not cheap (trip fee and shopping totaled over $200) but it was completely worth it! Hint - wear junky clothes, the buggies are hot, sweaty, and look like they could use the car wash. The conch train/trolley ride through Key West was ok, but I’ll never go to Key West again. It was truly gross. The t-shirt shops were of the lowest class I’ve ever been exposed to in the US - this includes most downtown city areas, Ibor City Florida, Provincetown, etc., or anywhere else crazy people and tourists proliferate. The day spent at Coco Cay in the Bahamas was about as fun as going to your local water park. You have to pay for everything extra (besides the free barbecue which closed at 2pm and we were not notified of this - there should be an announcement). But it was a nice beach with clear water and quiet surf which makes it safer for families with children or new swimmers. We went on the wave runner jet ski trip and it was very fun and action packed, but again, not cheap. It cost over $100 for my husband and I to ride together for an hour. We both agreed that the next time we ride of those things it would be on a friend’s dime.
Our day at sea was very enjoyable. Lots of events were planned for everyone since we had to obviously stay on the ship. The belly flop contest was fun to watch because one of the guys competing was someone we’d met the day before in Cozumel while we waited for our dune buggy rides. We mostly spent our pool time in the Solarium because it is adults only. Only a few times did we see children poke their heads in or walk through, which is a relief. I like when people follow the rules!!! We spent about 5 hours in the pool during our at sea day. There are showers for rinsing off the salt water and two hot tub spas (thought one of them was broken and not producing bubbles on Day 5 after we got back from Coco cay). I love having the café right there so you can take a break and have a snack without having to change out of your wet suit or even cover-up like you have to do to go into the Windjammer. The only things I noticed while having a full day at sea were the reluctance of bartenders to talk to folks who were sitting directly in front of them. This is no doubt due to their automatic gratuity of 15%. I wouldn’t hustle if I were getting paid for each drink either. My drink orders were always below average. The only great drinks I had were the wine at Chops and the coffee at Latte-tudes. One drink tip- if you buy a soda package, you usually have to fill your cup at a dining place or a bar, which is awkward for children. There should be a soda fountain at the coffee and ice cream place- makes sense.
In terms of the quality of the ship, I did notice that the old sides of the pool where the chairs and tables lie against the windows behind the rows of lounge chairs really need some extra care or updating. You can see the joints where the new section was fitted and it doesn’t exactly blend; the paint is chipping and rusting. The carpet on the pool deck is absolutely disgusting, but kids don’t notice that stuff so we don’t really see it being a problem for us- we don’t have children, and we always went to Solarium anyway. For a ship that wants to be "first class", the flooring should be tile or teak. The rest of the ship is perfect- the glass, brass, and marble floors on the stairs and windows and doors in the Centrum were always shiny and clean. We never saw trash, cigarette butts, etc. anywhere. Yes, there are glasses and trays left behind in hallways and on tables, but what do you expect where then are no trash cans around? Everything gets picked up eventually by wait staff. It’s their job. The carpeting looked well cared for inside and I am a carpet freak. I only saw wear spots and stains in front of the waiter stations in the dining room and only because I was looking for them. The mirrors in our room were always sparkling. All amenities like napkins, coffee stirrers, ice, etc. were always stocked at food stations. I always had a hot plate at Windjammer. Unlike Doug Ward’s report, the silverware is now wrapped in cloth, not a paper napkin. He was also wrong about people being too large for the lounge chairs and sofas in gathering areas. We found them to be plush, clean, and comfortable. All of the décor matches in whatever area you’re in. For instance, in the Centrum, all of the blue and beige chairs are together, then one floor down, all of the pink chairs are together. Everything is well coordinated. There is wood (though most of it fake paneling) everywhere, but it blends with the glass and carpeting well. The lighting and air temp. were fine too. The artwork was not memorable but added some design to the public areas and hallways. We could always find out room because there were two red pictures on the wall by our door! We liked the ship models at the elevators which showed which decks held which rooms but I found the public restrooms difficult to find. I always had to ask!
Our favorite games and shows onboard were the comedians, “Majority Rules”, and the “Not So Newlywed Game”. I liked how you had to “think” about them- it wasn’t completely mindless entertainment like the large musical shows which really involve a lot of skipping, stomping, twirling, and jazz hands. I found “the Quest” to be overrated and too juvenile for my taste. It would be better for college aged folks. My husband didn’t really want to get up and get into it, so it was a waste of time. We did like watching the karaoke contest but they should have made it clearer that each night is a separate competition to enter the finals on the last night- we didn’t realize that until after we missed one night in the middle of the trip. Maybe a lip-synch contest would be funny too for those people who want to put together a little sketch and not embarrass themselves with their awful voices??? I also think having a costume shop for those old fashioned black and white pictures (or themes like dressing up as pirates, princesses, etc. even for adults) would be a money maker for the photographers. In general, I’d like to have seen more themed nights. The only night when it was clear what the theme was turned out to be formal night. I’d actually dress up more for that night on my next cruise. Gloves or a tiara would have been perfect- when do you ever get to dress up like that besides a wedding or a prom??? In response to the cruise director and his staff, they did a fine job. A lot of recycled jokes and way too much Borat speak, but they had energy, were always approachable and friendly, and seemed to work 24-7.
We can’t wait to go back again on another cruise and try new things. We’ll definitely want to get our old room, 3579, back again if we go on Enchantment. RCI should stretch their other Vision class ships since they are becoming dated and are among the smaller ships in RCI’s fleet now and the stretching seemed to really send Enchantment into a whole other world (from what we've heard). We plan to sail on a Radiance- or Voyager-class ship some time, too. They seem to have the widest selection of longer itineraries and newer ships. Bon Voyage!