You happened to choose well when you chose the Enchantment of the Seas for your family's first cruise---she was a great ship with many ammenities to begin with, and then she was made even better. Because of her size (your travel agent is right to emphasize this point), the Enchantment was able to dazzle you with an array of things to see and do. I also am going to guess that your children had the time of their life.
I have sailed on the Empress of the Seas three times, always to Bermuda out of NYC, a seven-night itinerary. She is the smallest (and one-of-a-kind) ship in the fleet; because of this, she simply is not as multi-faceted as all of the other ships. We don't have children; you need to find out more about the extent of the children's program on board.
You say itinerary is not as important as port of departure. The Enchantment sailed on a New England/Canada itinerary last summer--every day was a different port or at sea. Understand what a Bermuda trip is: One day out; three and a half days in Bermuda (Hamilton and St. George), and a day and a half to sail home. It is the only cruise itinerary anywhere that calls basically in one place for three-plus days. Now this thrills someone like me, but it may not be your cup of tea.
Also, I think that the average stateroom on the Empress is a wee bit smaller than those on the Enchantment.
I hesitate to be negative, but you may very well find the Empress of the Seas to be quite plain, subdued, and possibly boring compared to the Enchantment.
If there is any way you can drive or train up to NYC, many more possibilities will open up to you.
I want your second cruise to be as wonderful for your family as the first!
Thank you very much for your feedback. First, you are dead on right when you guessed that my children had a great time. My oldest (8 years-old) is actually the one pushing for another cruise vacation.
We lucked into the Enchantment really. When I first met by T.A., he and a co-worker suggested the New England / Canada cruise out of Philly that you mentioned - mainly because I said I was not interested in flying.
My T.A. is actually having a cruise fair / expo tonight - so we will have a chance to chat with R.C. and other cruise line representatives - but I am very appreciative to have your thoughts going into it.
From where we are in Delaware, I figure I have multiple options for departure points - NYC included. R.C. also is doing Bermuda cruises (5-nights) out of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in NJ, and Baltimore. In those cases, the ships are the Voyager and the Grandeur - which I know are more in line with the Enchantment. So we do have good options to select from at this point.
From the above conversation, Empress is a very small ship and the cabins are not comfortabel for 3 to 4 people (I would actually go as far as saying it's not enough for 2). The ship is wonderful, but it doesn't have the same amenities as the other ships.
Royal Carribbean does not sail from NYC, it sails from Cape Liberty NJ (which is not far from NYC). The two ships sailing are definitely different. Explorer of the Seas will be in NJ next summer, instead of Voyager. Explorer is a Voyager class ship and I must say that your children would have a GREAT time on her. The ship has so much more then Grandeur. Grandeur and Enchantment are similar in size and anemities. Either ship you select you bound to have a excellent time.
I don't agree that "Empress of the Seas" is "a very small ship". She is approx. the same size as the infamous "Titanic"! She is a mid-sized vessel by today's standards, yes, but certainly not "very small".
Apart from that, I very much agree with you that her standard cabins are very small indeed, and I would not want to occupy one of these with three or four people.
Very valuable feedback concerning the size issue. It will be very helpful as I investigate options at tonight's Expo.
DYG - You are right - I errored on my previous post. Voyager went out of Cape Liberty this year and that Explorer is making the run in 2006. I failed to notice that the brochure I picked up last month was only showing 2005 dates.
To All - I welcome any more thoughts on this topic - as I have no plans of making a definite decision this evening.
I think you misunderstood this conversation string. I already did the Enchantment this summer after the refurb. I am just trying to get some insight as to whether the Empress is a good second cruise option after experiencing the Enchantment (FYI - most are telling me No).
And, NO, driving is not a good option for going on the Enchantment. If it hasn't already moved, it will be moving back to Ft. Lauderdale for a stretch of 1 year or more. I am not really interested in a 20+ hour drive from Delaware to get on the boat. I liked it, but not that much - especially when there are so many other options along the East Coast.
Of your choices, I would suggest the Explorer. Your kids will absolutely love it. The Voyager class ships were designed for families and they are wonderful. The Explorer would be the next step up as it is approximately twice the size of the Enchantment with tons of additional amenities.