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Carla Minutillo

Age: 39

Occupation:Project Manager

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Enchantment of the Seas

Sailing Date: June 2nd, 2002

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

My mom and I took this cruise together.

Embarkation: This cruise left from Fort Lauderdale, FL on Sunday afternoon. We were able to board any time between 2 and 5pm. Upon our arrival we were greeted by the baggage handlers who tagged our bags and took charge of them from there. They were quick to look for a tip for their efforts. The boarding process was very friendly and went very smoothly. You step up to a counter, hand over all your pre-filled out paperwork and they give you your on board charge card which doubles as your room key. You enter at deck 4, live music is being played and your adventure begins.

Day 1: Our first port of call was Key West. We took the Conch Train/Old Town Trolley Tour which was very informative. Then we took a walk through the shopping areas, but it was so hot and humid that day that I must admit we welcomed going back aboard the ship as quickly as possible.

Day 2: Cozumel. Here we took the Cozumel Island Tour. It was pouring rain on and off all day that day (mostly on!). We went to the Ruins of San Gervasio – not much to see there – got soaked and bitten all over by small insects. If you go here definitely take bug spray with you! The beach stop might have been nice if it wasn’t pouring. We got our free drink but got hassled by every vendor on the property to come in to their shops and buy their goods. I think I would pass on this tour if I had to do it again.

Day 3: Costa Maya. This is a location in Mexico which is clearly on its way to being developed as a huge resort destination. However, it is still under construction as I write this. Here we did the Jungle Beach Break shore excursion. The beach was beautiful and you could do as much or as little as you wished here. The only problem we had was the guide told us that the last bus back to the ship would depart at 4pm. Luckily we got up and went over to the bus location around 3:30pm and the bus was almost full and was supposedly the ‘last bus’. Everyone got transported home, but not without a few harsh words to the guide. I would definitely go here again.

Day 4: At sea. Plenty of activities to do – I’ll discuss further down.

Day 5: Grand Cayman. We did 2 shore excursions here. First the Grand Cayman highlights and Turtle Farm. This was quite enjoyable. Nice driver, small groups, and we saw all of the island. We stopped at the Governor’s home and got out to take some photo’s of the 7 mile beach. We also went to Hell and made a stop there for pictures and shopping. We went to the Turtle farm which was quite fascinating and we all got to hold a turtle if we wanted to. Then off to the Tortuga Rum Cake factory (FABULOUS!) – free samples and punch!

Our second excursion was the Seven Mile beach break. The cost of the excursion ($18 when we went) included a beach chair and a drink at the bar. The beach break is at one of the less fancy hotels on 7 mile beach and included a changing area and bathrooms. We also ended up renting an umbrella on the beach since there was no natural shade available and it was hot! That cost us another $5. Transportation to and from the hotel was on your own and cost $3/person each way. I think I would definitely go back to the 7 mile beach but maybe not sign up for the excursion. It is very easy to get a cab right at the port and they can take you to any hotel at the beach which will rent you a chair. Far less costly that way I think.

Day 6: At Sea again.

So let’s discuss the amenities and such:

· We had an inside cabin on the 7th Floor. I found it to be plenty spacious for an inside cabin and was very neat and clean and had tons of storage space. There is a lighted vanity with a blow dryer and TV set. The bathroom and shower are small but that’s the way it is on a cruise ship. The cabin steward was fabulous and came up with new creations for us every day.

Food was available around the clock. The Windjammer café which is on Deck 9 next to the pool is where you can eat casual meals. We had several breakfasts and lunches here. Cafeteria style. Afternoon snack is also available here.

There are 2 pool areas on board, both on deck 9. The main pool area is huge with lots of deck chairs, and plenty more on deck 10 overlooking the pool area. The second pool area is for adults (16 and over) and is called the Solarium. It was much quieter here and this area has a glass covered roof which retracts during nice days but can be covered if it is stormy. This area also has a snack bar service which had pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs and fries pretty much all day long.

Also located on deck 9 was the Spa and adjacent Gym which went up to deck 10 as well.

We didn’t utilize any of the Spa services this trip – they seemed a bit high priced but I was tempted.

The formal dining room is beautiful. It is on both decks 4 and 5. We sat with 2 other couples at our table and had just impeccable service the entire trip. The food was excellent. The men at the table often ordered 2 entrees though since the portions were of normal size, not oversized like we Americans are getting used to. We also had lunch in the dining room several times and lunch is generally open seating so we got to meet many other passengers. We had second seating for dinner which was at 8:30pm. At first I thought this seemed a bit late, but I would do it again. The first seating at 6pm I feel doesn’t give you a lot of time, especially if your doing shore excursions. Then if you want to do the late night shows you would have to fill that time in between. After second seating there were lots of things going on. Game shows, lounge acts, etc… The main show was performed twice. Once for main seating and once for 2nd seating. Our second seating shows alternated between 7pm some nights and 11pm other nights. I found all the shows entertaining, although sometimes a bit too loud.

Activities were plentiful on board. Plenty to keep anyone as occupied or not as you wish. The club for the children on board seemed very efficiently run and we hardly ran into any kids so they must have kept them pretty occupied.

The days at sea I almost felt like we had the whole ship to ourselves. We enjoyed walking the Promenade deck (5) and hardly ran into any people doing it. I often wondered where they hid the other 2000 passengers?? I suppose they were all up on the pool decks, but I didn’t frequent them much since I tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

Disembarking: This was done remarkably fast and easy. Luggage was tagged with a color corresponding to your departure flight time. Luggage had to be out of your cabin by Midnight Saturday. On Sunday morning, breakfast was served in both the Windjammer café and the formal dining room. Then disembarking began. We were the 6th or 7th group off and we were out and off the ship by 9:15am. I wish I had booked a flight earlier because Ft Lauderdale airport was a disaster. You can’t check your bags unless your within 4 hours of your flight, so the airport was jammed with lots of cruise line’s passengers all milling around waiting to check in. But the cruise line was excellent with the entire farewell send off and accommodations.

All in all we had a fabulous time on this cruise and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The entire crew and staff were top notch and always had a smile. You can’t go wrong sailing on the Enchantment of the Seas!

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